Huge interest in diving after TV's Splash! with Tom Daley
INTEREST in diving at the Life Centre has increased by 100 per cent since the first broadcast of Splash!, figures show.
The prime-time celebrity diving show, which features Tom Daley, has only been on for two weeks, yet the number of people inquiring about diving sessions has doubled, according to operator Everyone Active.
People have been inspired to dive not only from Plymouth, but all over the South West, with people willing to travel for over an hour to give diving a go.
The Life Centre has seen inquiries from Somerset, Truro and Torbay.
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On Sunday, the day after the second episode of Splash! was aired, the Life centre received 16 inquiries from those who wanted to give diving a go.
Sally Freeman is diving lessons manager at the centre and represented Great Britain at the Sydney Olympics.
Sally, from Beacon Park said: "A lot of people want to try diving out so we have the children doing taster sessions and also a rise in enrolment at the adult classes.
"Fifty per cent of the inquiries aren't from Plymouth, we've had interest from as far as Somerset.
"Following Christmas there's usually a bit of a lull. The Olympics gave us a big surge so it's nice to have a rise in interest again.
"The only problem is finding enough teachers but now we have divers who want to become teachers which is really good.
"Those that come along do tend to come again. They know that Tom's here every week and quite a lot of people watch Tom training or stay on after their own sessions to watch him training, it encourages them to keep coming."
Sally added: "In terms of the celebrities we've had coming down, the training sessions are quite interesting. "They are complete beginners but they have come along a treat considering they have hours not weeks of training.
"Eddie the Eagle was brilliant and some of the girls are really impressive, you might think that the men would be better but a few of the girls have done really well, doing summersaults and turns."
Judge on the show and Plymouth Diving head coach Andy Banks said: "There was a big surge after the Olympic Games and with 6.2 million viewers on a prime time Saturday night show we've seen another increase in interest.
"Splash!shows how hard the sport can be but it also shows that anyone can have a go.
"It's lucky for Plymouth that we have some of the best facilities in the world, but I think diving's taken off all around the country.
"With the celebrities, I'm really pleased how they've taken the bit between the teeth and really given it a go."
"Some people pick it up a bit quicker than others but they all gave it their all and have shown a lot of determination.
"It is a tough sport and it hurts when it goes wrong but it's nice to see people wanting to give it a go."
"From my point of view it's great to be involved with, it's great for the sport, great for Plymouth and it's great for Tom."