Diamonds are Forever as Bonds take diving mission

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The name’s Bond... William Bond. And he has a licence to thrill in the pool - alongside his three diving siblings!

William, alongside twin sister Abigail, nine-year-old sister Poppy and Maisie, aged six, are all members of the City of Sheffield Diving Club, based at Ponds Forge.

It all started when William and Abigail were just six years old. They were spotted in the pool by a teacher, and were invited to a diving taster session.

“They went along and really enjoyed it, so we booked them in for diving lessons,” mum Anita told Grass Roots.

“They progressed through the stages quite quickly and then Poppy, who had been watching them for a couple of months, joined them at the age of five.”

All three were identified as promising young talents by Nigel Mills, a City of Sheffield diving coach, and moved to one of the club’s pre-competition squads.

“All four are adrenalin junkies,” Anita added, “and they have always loved water.

“William and Abigail got a taste of life in the water aged just four months, when they did an underwater baby course.”

At just seven months, the twins got their first taste of fame when their pictures appeared in The Star, back in December 2003.

Not to be outdone, Maisie won the Sheffield & District Swimming Amateur Association’s Water Babies Cup at just three years old.

The trophy is awarded to the youngest child to swim 25 metres of the Ponds Forge pool, without any assistance.

“Maisie was always a strong swimmer,” Anita continued, “and she also loved gymnastics.

“But her real love was for diving, and she spent a lot of time at Ponds Forge watching her brother and sisters on the boards.”

The breakthrough moment for Maisie came a year ago, when City of Sheffield launched a mini-squad made up of siblings of either current or previous elite pathway divers.

“All four now compete regularly, and have medalled at regional and national skills competitions,” Anita said.

“I don’t know how far they can go in the sport, but while they have a love for diving, and continue to develop and progress, my husband Jon and I will do everything we can to support them.”

Nikki Smith, Diving Development Officer at City of Sheffield, said: “We have many siblings within the club, but to have four such talented children from the same family is quite exceptional.

“William, Abigail and Poppy have progressed well and all compete for the City of Sheffield at a National level, having won a range of regional and national medals between them.

“And Maisie was selected out of 167 children tested to join the Sheffield Diving Talent ID Squad which will begin training in March.

“The squad is made up of 20 children aged between six and nine years old, who will train for up to five hours a week.”

n Meanwhile, the diving club have announced a partnership with Green + Benz, which will see a ‘diamond incentive’ scheme created for the club’s junior elite athletes.

“Helen Dimmock, who owns the company, came to watch a diving show, and fell in love with our own ‘diving diamonds,” Nikki explained.

“She was a elite ballet dancer herself and is now as one of the top female diamond graders in the UK.

“She saw the similarities in the sport of diving and her business, with both being about perfection, and wanted to give something back to the community.”

Helen presents the club’s divers with a silver keyring, when they reach international standard.