Harrogate's 'secret' role in Olympics in Tokyo may result in gold medals

The secret is out! Harrogate has a big role to play in this summer's Olympics in Tokyo and it's all thanks to the town's fantastic diving club.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:21 pm
Trained in Harrogate - British diver Jack Laugher who is the current double Olympic Gold medalist in the men's 3m Springboard and synchronized men's 3m Springboard events.

Team GB will be taking a team of 12 divers to the Olympic games which begin next Thursday, July 23 and run until Sunday, August 8.

What everyone may not know is that the team contains a number of former divers from Harrogate District Diving Club.

Irish diver Oliver Dingley who went to St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate.

There are also a number of national coaches for other countries with Harrogate links who will be doing their best to bring back diving medals from Tokyo for their teams.

Among the names Harrogate can be proud of are:


Jack Laugher (Team GB)

Oliver Dingley (Team Ireland)

National Diving Coaches

Damian Ball (Team Ireland)

Ady Hinchcliffe (Team Australia)

Andy Banks (Team Australia)

The Harrogate links of Jack Laugher and Oliver Dingley are substantial.

Jack Laugher: Factfile

3m Diver Jack Laugher current double Olympic Gold medalist in the men's 3m Springboard and synchronized men's 3m Springboard events.

Jack and his 2016 synchro partner Chris Mears made history in 2016 at Rio when they were the first ever British divers to win a gold medal in diving at the Olympics.

Jack trained under coach Damian Ball at Harrogate District Diving Club alongside fellow Harrogate Olympian Oliver Dingley during 2010.

Oliver Dingley: Factfile

Oliver Dingley made history in 2016 when he became the first Irish diver to compete at the Olympic games during 2016 in Rio.

Oliver made the finals in the men's 3m springboard event and finished in 8th place.

Oliver dived at Harrogate District diving club from 1999 to the end of 2010 and lived in Harrogate from 1992 to 2012.

National Coaches who used to dive at Harrogate District Diving Club

Oliver went to St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate

Damian Ball: Factfile

Damian Ball dived at Harrogate Diving club from the age of 10 and progressed quickly at the old Coppice pool and competed at a National level.

He began coaching aged 16 and started out as a volunteer for the club.

When the Hydro opened in 1999 he was appointed by the Local Authority as a full time Diving Development Officer and Head Coach.

He formed Harrogate District Diving Club in 1999 as an independent club prior to that diving was a part of the swimming club.

Damian developed a large and successful scheme for the Local Authority and spent 12 years as a full time coach in Harrogate coaching many athletes to National and International level, including Oliver Dingley and Jack Laugher.

Damian coaches Olympian Oliver Dingley and is National Diving Coach for Swim Ireland

Ady Hinchcliffe: Factfile

Ady dived for Harrogate District Diving Club in 1984 with his brother.

He was coached by Andy Banks

Ady went to St Aiden’s school in Harrogate

Ady was the aquatics development manager at Leeds and head coach of the City of Leeds Diving Club.

He coached Olympic Gold medallists Jack Laugher and Chris Mears during the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Other past and present Olympians Ady has coached

Rebecca Gallantree

Sarah Barrow

Lois Tolson

Katherine Torrence

Alicia Blagg

Tandi Gerrard

Matty Lee

Yona Knight Wisdom

Ady was a National Diving Coach for Team GB for many years but left to become a National Diving Coach for Australia in 2017.

Andy Banks: Factfile

Andy dived at Harrogate diving at the old Coppice pool and also coached Ady Hinchcliffe and Damian Ball.

He also coached Tom Daley whilst at Plymouth diving club and coached Tom Daley during the 2012 London Olympics where Daley won the bronze medal in the Men's Platform event.

Andy was a National Team GB diving coach but after over 30 years of coaching for Britain Andy left to join Ady Hinchcliffe to become a National Diving Coach for Australia.

Harrogate District Diving Club: Factfile

Harrogate District Diving Club was formed independently in 1999 and is run by the Local Authority Harrogate Borough Council and has a history of successful coaching programmes and has produced two Olympic divers.

The club is one of only two diving clubs in the UK that has a DiveAbility scheme where divers with disabilities and additional needs can learn to dive in safe and accepting place.

During the pandemic the club has lost 82% of it’s pool time and the 3m springboards that Jack and Oliver are famous for diving off have been surrounded by scaffolding for more than eight months with no start date for repairs.

Whilst the diving tower is out of action the divers train using a mobile 1m springboard and poolside.

The club is passionate that diving should be accessible to all in our local community.

The Tokyo Olympics diving event schedule: Factfile

25 July Women’s synchronised 3m springboard

26 July Men’s synchronised 10m platform

27 July Women’s synchronized 10 platform

28 July Men’s synchronized 3m springboard

30 July Women’s 3m springboard (heats)

31 July Women’s 3m springboard (semi finals)

1 August Women’s 3m springboard (finals)

2 August Men’s 3m springboard (heats)

3 August Men’s 3m springboard (semi finals)

3 August Men’s 3m springboard (finals)

4 August Women’s 10m platform (heats)

5 August Women’s 10m platform (semi finals)

5 August Women’s 10m platform (finals)

6 August Men’s 10m platform (heats)

7 August Men’s 10m platform (semi finals)

7 August Men’s 10m platform (finals)

Events comprise of men’s and women’s versions of 3m springboard, 3m synchronised 3m springboard, 10m platform and synchronised 10m platform.

The diving competitions feature up to 136 athletes.

All divers had to be at least 14-years-old on or by 31 December 2020.