Richards taking giant leap forward

Liam Richards has been making a splash with great diving. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1498-588)
Liam Richards has been making a splash with great diving. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1498-588)
Scott Campos

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Liam Richards relished the competition stage once again as he produced a top performance to add to his medal collection.

The eight-year-old, from North End, is one of the youngest members of the Q team at The Quays Swimming & Diving Complex.

He lined up alongside his fellow club divers for a competition held at the venue in December.

Richards produced three quality dives to earn a silver medal as he thrived in the pressure environment.

It was a good end to 2014 for the Corpus Christi Primary School pupil.

He also won a silver medal in June in a schools’ competition.

That was a repeat of his success from the same event in 2013, and he has now picked up four silver medals in his fledgling diving career.

His three dives included a forward dive tuck, and a back jump off the 3m platform.

Richards said: ‘I get nervous before competitions. It’s quite different from training but it’s good.

‘I mostly enjoy diving off the one-metre platform because you can do lots of different dives.’

Richards was inspired to take up diving when he watched Tom Daley competing in the London 2012 Olympics.

The television programme Splash!, which featured Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt in 2014, also had a big influence as it helped to bring the sport to the public eye.

Richards added: ‘I was watching Splash! on television and Tom Daley was on it. I saw him in the Olympics.

‘His diving is very good. I told my mum I wanted to do diving and she organised it for me.’

Richards performances have clearly shown he has taken to the sport very well.

His mum Catherine is delighted to see the hard work he has put in rewarded with good performances in competitions.

She revealed her son wasn’t feeling well in the build-up to the club event just before Christmas, and so his medal success came as a nice surprise.

‘Liam wasn’t very well and hadn’t trained for two weeks, so he wasn’t expecting to get anything,’ said Catherine.

‘He did really well. This has all come about from Liam watching diving in the Olympics.

‘There is pressure in the competitions but Liam seems to thrive on it.

‘He’s really keen. It’s great that he’s got a sport he enjoys.’

Richards’ success in diving has also been well received at Corpus Christi.

His mum added: ‘His school are so proud of him. They have never had a diver before.

‘He took his medal in to show what he had done over Christmas and after the schools’ competition he was presented with his certificate in assembly.’

Richards was also inspired when he met former Great Britain diver Pete Waterfield, who dropped in to pass on some advice to the Q team.

Waterfield combined with Daley to secure fourth place in the 10m synchro competition in London 2012.

He also won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, alongside Leon Taylor, and had plenty of good advice for the young divers.

Richards said: ‘I met Pete Waterfield and that was really good.

‘He was telling us to eat healthy food and talking about how he got his medals.’