Diving coach Derek Beaumont on a life in diving

Derek Beaumont Sports awards

Derek Beaumont Sports awards - Credit: Archant

“I thought we were going to be shut down for good. It was a massive shock.”

In mid-2013, Derek Beaumont, joint founder of Beaumont Diving Academy, based at Hatfield Swim Centre was braced for the worst.

The three-metre springboard and five-metre diving board at Hatfield had both been condemned due to structural damage from lifelong wear and tear.

With divers leaving the academy due to the inconvenience, it appeared Beaumont Diving Academy may have been on its last legs.

However, nine months and restoration later, the Swim Centre is thriving once more and Beaumont is taking plaudits for his dedication to his project.

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The diving coach, who is now in his 80s, picked up the BBC Unsung Hero award for the East of England just a month ago and back in October, was heralded as the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) 2014 National Teacher and Coach of the Year, beating six others to the honour.

Beaumont told the WHT: “It was great to win the ASA award because of the other nominees that I beat.

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“There were some really strong candidates in there and for me to take the title ahead of them was amazing.

“For me, the ASA award was a bigger deal for me because it was a national title. The BBC Unsung Hero was special and it got coverage from BBC Look East, but I will treasure the ASA award more.”

Beaumont has had an illustrious career within the sport of diving since starting some 56 years ago.

Judging and coaching at the Olympic Games, winning 12 county titles and seeing over 1,000 students through the academy doors since the year 2000 rank among his highest accolades, but there are two that stick in his mind most prevalently.

Beaumont continued: “The first of my proudest moments came when I trained Chris Snode in The Woodlands, Texas to win the World Diving Cup Men’s 3m Springboard in 1979. Chris beat the three-time World Champion Phil Boggs and it was almost unthinkable at the time.

“My other moment was Alison Drake winning the 1972 European Ladies’ 1m springboard in Paris. Those kind of stories stand as the foundations of my club’s legacy and what I have prided myself on for past 56 years. I hope I can create more memories like that before I retire.”

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