Madeleine Angell returned from the British Gas Elite Junior UK Diving Championships in Plymouth as one-metre springboard national champion in the girls’ 12/13 age group.
Despite being new to this level of competition, the Chichester High School for Girls pupil put in an impressive all-round display to take gold and the title of national champion on the one-metre springboard. She did it with confidence, retaining her first place from the preliminaries.
In the platform event she performed consistently, improving her placing from third in the preliminaries to the silver-medal position in the final, missing gold only on the last dive.
In March, Angell joined the team of Southampton Diving Academy divers who travelled to Leeds to take part in the G-Star competition where she made the finals on both the springboards, winning the preliminaries on the one-metre and taking gold in the finals by an impressive 20 points.
Angell started diving lessons only in August 2009 and a month later she was chosen as part of the Sport England talent ID programme.
Within six months she qualified for both regional and national skills in diving and she went on to qualify for national age groups a month later.
In 2011, having moved into the under-13 age group and being one of the youngest, she returned to compete at the national age groups in Sheffield and gained personal-best scores on all three boards, winning bronze on platform, where her consistent arm stand piked somersault on the 7.5m board attracted scores of 8.5 from some judges.
In 2011, her scores qualified her for junior elite level for 2012 – the highest level for her age group.
Last November, Angell travelled with the SDA team to Berlin, attending a training camp and competition. Despite still being one of the youngest in the age group she won two silvers with impressive performances.
Angell ended 2011 with more success, gaining good results in her club championships and being voted ‘divers diver’ at the club, showing that she had earned the respect and admiration of her peers.
She now trains as an elite diver at The Quays in Southampton six times a week.
Her coach Chris Gravestock said: “Maddie is a very talented girl. She has come a long way in a very short space of time. But diving requires more than just talent and Maddie demonstrates her commitment to the sport with a fantastic attitude in training. Her successes are a credit to her hard work and determination.”
If you would like to try diving and are aged between six and 17, the Southampton Diving Programme offers free 30-minute taster sessions at The Quays, Southampton. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Annie on 023 8072 0922.