Diving Sport Blog – Annes life in the pool on the boards

Diving Sport Blog – rising up the boards!

It all happened a few years ago! – twisting turning…

Diving sport -annes diving blog - anne diving - image
Annes Diving Blog – “I recall my memories on the boards and in the pools”

Diving sport is great to be involved in. Anne’s blog recalls – but before she does.

“I was born into a swimming family,  the last girl to arrive,  my older sisters 8, 14 and 16 years away from me.   Poor Dad was hoping for a boy but it wasn’t to be.   Mum and Dad were busy members of West Bromwich Swimming Club,   sitting on committees and officiating at galas and eventually becoming life members.   My sisters were already Midland and club swimming champions.  Dad had an ambition that one of my sisters would swim the Channel but,  by desire or design,  this never happened.

My blog goes onto say…one day… I was playing with my bucket and spade… and toddling around when…

 Diving sport -annes diving blog - born into a swimming familyI was scooped up into the car and driven to the West Bromwich Gala Baths.   I remember being carried into this big building and suddenly faced with a HUGE bath of blue water.

annes diving blog - anne with her big teaching "sis - imageBig teaching “sis”

From that day on,   after my first introduction in the arms of my big teaching “sis”,  I was taken frequently and got used to the idea. I couldn’t stand up to paddle nor could I swim,  so I had to rely on my big teacher “sis” and her boyfriend carrying me around dousing me up and down.

Given the harness

diving sport - Annes diving blog - West Bromwich Gala Baths - image
Big huge bath

After a while, I found myself in a harness being carried up and down the bath by someone who,  to me,  was a very old lady with a loud mouth.  I didn’t like it.”

At the galas,  I watched my sisters swimming to victory and picking up trophies,  their beaux playing water polo,   Mum and Dad at opposite ends of the pool with stop watches.

Diving sport - annes diving blog - Inter-school Swimming - imageI used to watch my middle schoolteacher “sis” taking her pupils to the top in the Inter-school Sports.   It was before my time, but I still “had” to join in!  

Between the galas I was taken to another big pool,  but this time it was under a blue sky – the Kingfisher Lido near Kingswinford.   I remember  lovely weekends,  playing in the fountains during what seemed to be persistently lovely summers.  The lido had a higher-up camping field and my “soon to be”  brother-in-law took his youth squad on many camping trips for treats.   My sisters and I joined them.  It was wonderful.

Shallow end

Diving sport -annes diving blog - anne jumping into Kingfisher Lido
Jumping free at Kingfisher Lido

They apparently thought nothing of me wandering into the shallow end of the pool,  where I could stand up,  and I tried – oh so tried – to get my feet off the bottom.   The old lady hadn’t been a great success with me over the last year,   I was about five then.

Eventually, I could swim  a little and retrieve myself after jumping in.   It became the practice to move me slowly into the deeper water with assistance.   The goal being that they could plant me on the poolside midway down the length of the bath,   stand on the opposite side and beckon me to jump in and swim across.

Milky shake bribes

I didn’t like the idea much and they often had to patiently await my effort,   offering bribes of lovely milk shakes on the way home.  That usually did the trick,  and… I made it to the other side!   However,  on one occasion,   I can’t forget  almost reaching the other side ,   but then started to sink.

Down I went,  waiting to touch the bottom when I could give a good push up,  but as I was making these plans, a body splashed down to my side,  and my sister hoisted me up.  Amazingly I hadn’t panicked and surprisingly wanted to do it again straight after – then… perhaps I’d get two milk shakes?   And I did.

More confident

As weeks progressed,   I became stronger and confident.  

Diving sport - annes diving blog - anne feeling more confident at Kingfisher Lido - image
I think I’d just swum my first stroke unaided!

Big teaching “sis” started to think that I should tackle a swim of the bath lengthwise.   Either she or my brother-in-law would start me off jumping in at the deep end.   They were in the water to pluck me to the surface in case I didn’t come up.   They swam alongside me and soon I was able to at least get towards the shallow end and stand up if I wanted to cheat.   And then carry on.

When I was able to swim the whole length in a kind of dog paddle-breastroke,   and  with great sighs and gasps,   they walked along the bathside as I swam near the wall.   By this stage,   my visits to the milkbar were very enjoyable.   I was now six years old.

Diving sport - annes diving blog - anne camping at Kingfisher Lido - image
Summer bliss. With some of the youth squad behind.

I enjoyed  lots of camping visits to the Kingfisher Lido.  

Another great Sunday trip,   after Sunday school,   was to the river –   Grimley-upon-Severn,   where mum and dad,   my sisters and brother-in-laws picnicked and messed about and played in the river.

With family assistance,   I swam across the river,   which seemed an awful long way.  In fact visiting in recent years,   it was less than  the 33.3 yards bath.

Diving stage

Beginnings of my plunge into diving sport!

The diving stage at the baths was a four boards  “ladder” style up to the fifth board,  which was about 4.5 metres.   I was perched on the end of the first board,   legs dangling over,   with head and arms pointing down to the water.  I was “helped” off the board and,   if lucky,  didn’t “splat” on all fours onto the water.   I learned to keep my legs out of the way under the board as I toppled in.   By the time I was six-and-a-half,  I was moved up to to the TOP board.  The first time there,  I sat…and sat… and sat…on the end of the board.  

My sister, bro-in-law and others were shouting,  “come on’, “go”, “one-two-three GO”,    but I remained  stuck on the end of the board and wouldn’t budge.

On the fourth board up,  it was a gigantic leap and, besides, there was an ugly black drain on the pool bottom directly below.   Queues were forming down to the bottom board and,  by the time they were  forming along the poolside,   I was called down the steps.   Oh dear,  NO milkshakes that day.  Just a shaky me.

Big teaching “sis” was not to be beaten.   On following visits,   I carried out the usual routine of diving from the bottom board up to the top board but it was still  “no go ” on top.   I was encouraged to swim over the horrid black drain,   and even surface dive towards it (with my eyes shut tight).    I was a tiny wisp of a nearly seven-year-old and I’d never have reached down nine-and-a-half feet of water,   not even toppling off the top board.

Over the course of the next few sessions,   my confidence grew and again,  I found myself  “up on top”,   There was a moment of hesitation,   and…I took a big breath,  closed my eyes (tut! tut!) and let myself fall.   I waited for the impact into the water,  then SPLISH SPLOSH.   Upon swimming up towards the light,   I heard a muffled roar of “hurrays” across the building,   as many had been following my progress.   I emerged from the pool a bit shaky and into the arms of big teaching “sis”.   This was the start.  I was rewarded with an enormous pink iced bun.

Diving sport - annes diving blog - anne in West Bromwich Chronicle - image
Click for clearer reading

My technique had improved,   and just before my birthday,   I was able to sit on the end of the diving board,   roll my stretched legs with pointed toes over my head and swing them back again.   This gave me the  momentum to leave the board into a streamlined dive into the water.   I felt the bee’s knees.  The annual gala was coming up soon and this little demonstration to a gasping audience,   was included in the programme.   It made the newspaper columns.

By this time,  my attempted breaststroke had become stronger.  

“The gala opening saw me swimming diagonally across the floodlit pool,  floating a big bouquet of flowers with the mayoress awaiting my presentation.”  

My sisters won most events,   including the diving trophy.  But the future was to decide who was the best at this diving sport. 

During the course of the next few months,   my big teaching “sis” and bro-in-law extended my swimming goal  to 10 lengths of the pool.   It was exhausting and boring but with the gradual increase I managed it.   I’m sure big teaching “sis” added extra lengths,  because I had to concentrate on my swimming rather than counting,  and wait until she called out the last length.

Read more on Annes blog and her love of diving sport.

Part 2 continued…top board, lido days, riding pillion.


I’ll give you a pair of Maru Goggles if you can find a snippet on “Lost Lidos” at the bottom of a post.  Also the bathing pool it takes you to!  First person to email me gets the goggles.  My email is at the spot – Anne

blog - swim goggles -image

A Diving Club – click picture to enlarge

Blog - Aberdeen Diving Boards (gbdf.com) - image
Aberdeen Diving Club + Click for Details image – gbdf.com 

Investigation by General Gallimus and his Pettapede Army

Investigation by General Gallimus and his Pettapede Army

Investigation by General Gallimus and his charges to lie in wait.

Investigation into Ebkues devious plans await Eddie and Ollie - imageInvestigation into Ebuke’s devious mission will be awaiting Eddie and Ollie. They awoke with so much excitement. They bolted their breakfast down. No standing on ceremony – straight to old Judas Hugglebottom. They couldn’t wait to travel back into Thorsotania, and be with General Gallisum and his unbelievable Pettapedes. Their fevered heightened as they spotted the faint plume of smoke rising into the air. Old Judas saw them coming, and he too couldn’t wait to take them on a journey that would only ever be made by them. After the boys had calmed down their dearest friend started…
General Gallimus had thought long and hard during the last sleep. He had come to a decision. He’d planned to guide the Pettapedes along the route of the Thorsotate soldiers.

They had disappeared behind a promontory. A headland that stood blackened against the green grey sky. The investigation started by engaging his special charges into position, the next step commencing their exploration.
Balanced on their useful multi legs, with calm and level thoughts, they lingered for a while. Using their wits they skirted around the unevenness of the terrain. Darting into hollows, using their acute hearing and listening for sounds of life. Their trained eyes were also ready to pick up any slightest movement. So far nothing could be seen or heard. Using extra powers of smell, sniffing and following any scent left behind from the Thorsotate soldiers gave them vital clues for their way forward. They inched around a jutting headland and suddenly General Gallisum Investigation reveals Ebuke's fortress - imagestopped them. In the distance a rampart with pinnacles twisting and turning, rose into the sky. It monopolised the scape.
A deep gully surrounded this. It was a sprawling edifice appearing to be a defence fortification. A roughened archway, with towers each side spanned the entrance. Castlelated walls jutted back and beyond from the two towers. Threatening spear shaped spurs sprouted from the walls. General Investigation revealed dbolted doors - imageGallisum guessed they were surrounding a quandrangle. A large apron of open gravelly ground lay aforefront the fortress, behind which was a gangway over the gulley which also led on up to a portal with huge heavy wooden ornate bolted doors.
A hundred or more paces forwards, the Pettapedes had good view of six Watch Guards, three each side of the gangway. They were standing to attention with legs astride, and with unrestricted view they were constantly sliding their eyes guarding the vastness all around. The guards looked fierce. Armed with long spears held atilt they defended the heftily chained blackened wooden bar which secured good stronghold across the vast doors. They wore all-in-one grey hooded well padded metal collared upper bodices, thick hide encasing their hands. There was a rough vivid green insignia of his Dictatorshipd-e” sprawled across the additional long wide leather belted red tunics. There was no escaping the fact they were part of Dictator Ebuke’s Guard. These over-tunics added further protection covering thick drawers tucked into thigh high heavy hide boots.
The Watch Guards were motionless. There was a stillness set within the eerie silence and green glow of the landscape. General Gallimus main focus was to seize the Investigation is carried out by General Gallisum and his armyprecise moment to enter the awesome fortress. The Pettapedes lithe bodies would enable them to encounter and tackle any potential hazard. They awaited for any opportunity to grab.
The Pettapede army were ordered to rest between “watches” each taking turns. During investigation rest was essential to conserve the powerful energy they required to sustain their invisibility. No-one could see them, but their extraordinary waves of inner light meant they could see each other. Every half moon orbit the General picked up on stirring of the atmosphere. There was action. Rhythmic stomping could be heard from a distance. The Watch Guards were immediately alerted to this and joined in by marching on the spot in time to the background rhythm.  As the increasing volume grew and grew six more figures dressed identically emerged onto the scene. They marched towards the Watch Guards already on duty. Two by two Left right; Left right; Left right; they formed a line of protection down one side of the gangway.  Marching on the spot in precise rhythm for twelve more beats,The former Watch then about turned, facing away from each other. The three Watch Guards that had flanked the left of the gangway turned about once again and marched down and around across the gangway to fall in ahead of their compatriots who had flanked the right side. In precise manner they marched away following the same route as the exchange Watch had marched in.
Three of the replacement Watch shuffled up into the vacated positions, the other three marching down and across the gangway to take up their positions on the other side. The Guards then marched on the spot for twelve more beats and then abruptly stamped to attention. The Shwig Investigation saw the Watch soldiers marching away - imageshwig; Shwig shwig; Shwig shwig of boots from the departing Watch could be heard echoing around the rugged black landscape which in time gradually faded away.
General Gallisum and his charges knew they must mark time with patience, and wait. They remained on the spot, and witnessed change of Watch every half moon orbit for five more sleeps.  Not anticipated and unforeseen, there was a general feeling of unrest in the atmosphere. The Watch Guards suddenly came into action, and with utmost precision and timing, begun drilling on the spot.
Left right; left right; left right; their eyes staring far out into the distance. The marching continued for twelve more beats, then stamped down to attention.
General Gallisum and the Pettapedes were swiftly aware of movement in and around the rugged rangy hillsides.
Thorotates running
Small figures surfaced from underground dwellings, out of crannies from chasms and craters, from behind hillocks, and down steep mountainsides, they emerged from everywhere. Every turning point was filled with bustle, people scattering themselves and running wildly. Thousands upon thousands of Ebuke’s subjects-the Thorsotates swarmed with an automatic sense of direction heading towards the fortress. They thronged, pushed and shoved and eventually the horde quietened, and gathered with more calm. They’d congregated over terrain from the boundaries of the fortification right as far back and around as the Pettapedes eyes could see.
The Watch Guards remained stock-still.
Although more subdued, the people appeared agitated. The dreary greenness of light that hovered over the backdrop and surroundings added to an atmospheric heaviness. It was overbearing.
General Gallisum and the Pettapedes set to work with their investigation. Their eyes skirting every crag and cranny. They felt a crucial undertaking was imminent. The people of Thorsotania had been called.
No sooner these conclusions had been reached there was a sudden burst of action from the The Watch Guards. They started to march on the spot with eyes focussed well beyond the horizon.
Left right; left right; left right; for twelve beats followed by stamp to attention. There would be an interval of inactivity followed by a repetition of the drill, the same rhythm repeating over and over.
Further investigation revealed the busy actions of the Watch Guards, Between times, a hush descended over the valleys. The Thorsotate People were drawn into the strange quietude and waited.”
Eddie and Ollie were nervous and fearful of the situation. They clung to each other wondering what was going to happen. THEY wanted to be an important part of the equation. THEY wanted to be included in the Pettapedes vital mission. Whatever the outcome NOTHING must ultimately ever happen to the beloved Shamoshelimyticleletite, Protector of Cavenarea.
Oh Shucks! they must summon all the strength to make it all right. Something awful was going to happen they knew it, they feared the rumours of the Teleleggit were not rumours at all. The Thorsotate People too were waiting, as if called by their Iron Ruler to hear a special announcement, to which they had to obey.”
…and so was old Judas. Stooped and exhausted he was bending over them and in gentle soft tones was calmly bringing them back to him. Eddie and Ollie fought against coming back into the familiar surroundings. Squeezing and fisting their eyes, trying to shut out the inevibility, they pleaded with old Judas to carry one.
Judas shook his head and told them that they must return home once suitably recovered from the intensity of his story telling.Investigation -Old Judas's kindling fire - image
He would see them next day. With that thought he laid down near his fire. He drew the old tartan rug over his head, a hand slid from under and gesticulated a “do as your told – go away” wave and promptly fell into deep sleep…he was “spent”.
Eddie and Ollie accepted there was no chance and quietly left him to it. They looked behind and saw the gentle wisp of smoke from Old Judas’s burning kindling rising in the air.  Would they be able to wait?