HE’S been Penny Mordaunt’s mentor – now coach Michael Whitelock has tipped the city MP to go all the way in Splash!
As reported, Ms Mordaunt will compete in the ITV diving programme on Saturday in an effort to raise funds for the Hilsea Lido, among other worthy causes.
In preparation for the challenge, she had 12 sessions learning how to control her body in the air with Michael Whitelock, owner of Portsmouth Schools Trampolining.
Ms Mordaunt, who represents Portsmouth North, developed her skills on a trampoline and learned how to somersault while strapped to a harness at Portsmouth High School in Southsea.
Mr Whitelock said he was impressed by how far Ms Mordaunt came in such a short space of time.
‘For someone who has never done trampolining before, she did really well,’ he said.
‘She seems very, very dedicated to everything that she does. I think she’ll do very well.
‘Based on who I have seen in the last two weeks of the show, she has got a good chance of going all the way.’
While she didn’t pick up any major injuries, Ms Mordaunt picked up a few small bumps while trying to judge how to land on the trampoline.
‘He is an awesome trampolining coach,’ said Ms Mordaunt.
‘I started off slowly, and using a trampoline allows you to control your body in the air and help you know when to twist and turn, so that was really helpful.
‘It helped me learn a lot of the moves that you do in diving, like a tuck.
‘The thing I wanted to learn was a forward somersault, and I managed to do that in six weeks.
‘Although I felt quite sore, I didn’t pick up any major injuries.
‘But I did have the odd accident where I went to do a front drop back on the trampoline, and if I didn’t have my hands in the right place then I would hit my nose.’
Ms Mordaunt will do a dive called a back dive straight, which hasn’t been done before on the show.
‘People have fallen off the board backwards, but they’ve never dived backwards,’ she said.
Ms Mordaunt will be up against singer and musician Paul Young, model Danielle Lloyd, comedian Patrick Monahan and The Only Way Is Essex star Dan Osbourne.
Two of the five contestants will make it through to the semi-finals.
The show, held at an Olympic-sized pool at Inspire: Luton Sports Village, will be from 7pm.