Elite-level diving requires the strength and agility of a gymnast, the fearlessness of a skydiver and powerful swimming skills. When everything comes together, it’s one of the most graceful, yet spectacular sports there is.
To discover more about the skills required to compete in leading diving competitions, we caught up with one of our Sporting Champions, Matt Dixon – 2018 European Silver Medallist and 2018 Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist.
With the LEN European Diving Championships taking place in Kiev this month, we caught up with one of our Sporting Champions, Matt Dixon at the Plymouth Life Centre, which Everyone Active runs in partnership with Plymouth City Council, where he trains. He discussed what he loves most about diving, his training regime and how he prepares for competitions.
Watch the video to find out more about Matt, diving and what the Everyone Active Sporting Champions Scheme does for athletes all over the country.
A Typical Training Week
To build and maintain strength, training as a diver will include both a gym and pool session. An hour of fitness and somersaults is carried out in the gym which helps Matt become more aware of his body and capabilities for the pool session. In the pool, he trains his required, which involves the easier diving boards in order to get a better entry and lead-ups to prepare for the mighty 10m board optional dives.
Preparing for Diving Competitions
Having made his senior international debut at the 2014 Commonwealth Championships as a 14-year-old, Matt – now 19 – is heading into the European Championships in Kiev, Ukraine as a major contender. But how does he get himself into the right frame of mind to take on the world’s best and prevail?
Some athletes may have a number of superstitions and rituals they carry out before a major competition to get the best possible result. Matt, however, focuses on trying not to change anything and bringing training into the competition so he can focus on himself and being himself.
During Diving Competitions
In order to achieve his winning dives and remain in the right frame of mind whilst competing, he likes to “listen to music, chill out and just be in the right focused mind-set” so he can perform at his optimum level.
Training Likes and Dislikes
Matt feels it’s really important to have a great time training with his friends “if you’re doing a good session in training, it always leaves you feeling good”.
Although Matt loves and enjoys the sport, his least favourite part about training is the conditioning side as it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it because he loves the sport so much.
Attributes for Aspiring Divers
The main qualities needed to be a successful diver is having the right mind frame and being brave, “as long as you’re brave and can jump off a 10m board, I’m sure you’ll do fine!” Working on your strength and conditioning, as well as being determined is absolutely vital, “if you’re really strong and have got really good body tension then your diving is going to be so much easier.”
Sporting Champions Support
As an Everyone Active Sporting Champion, Matt has access to almost 200 Everyone Active centres around the country with a number of quality facilities and state-of-art gym equipment; “for me to go to any gym that I can, to get stronger and to go to any Everyone Active diving pool in the UK just helps me to improve so much”.