8 August, Germany – ‘All Over The Place – Europe’
Of our original presenters from series 1 of ‘All Over The Place’, way back in the days of 2010, only 2 remain – Iain Stirling and Johny Pitts. And for our last 3 blocks of filming that’s who we have on board, starting today in Germany with Johny.
Johny only began to learn how to swim when he was 18 years old and is still not that confident with the whole thing, so he wasn’t exactly clicking his heels with joy when we arrived at the leisure centre in Schweinfurt for the Splash Diving World Championships.
The whole thing was cooked up 11 years ago by a guy called Oliver who was always fed up as a teenager that all the fun bits of swimming – jumping off things and being silly – are always frowned upon in swimming pools. So he’s assembled a team of young people who love nothing more than hurling themselves off diving boards, pulling shapes and trying to make the biggest splash they can. They’ve even done stunt dives from helicopters from heights of over 40 metres.
The championships are a 3 day event and we were there for the first day heats. In between the heats the diving board tower (with several boards up to a height of 10 metres) is opened to the public and they can fling themselves off it as much as they like. The only lifeguards I could see were in a corner chatting amongst themselves as countless excited teenagers hurtled through the air, sometimes jumping up to four in one go. At one point when the pros were showing off I think about eight of them hit the water at the same time, plumes of water flying up out of the pool like someone had let a bomb off.
Johny and I had our training from Oliver and a previous world champion called Felix, where they told us to embrace the pain of hitting the water in ‘The Board’ position (with your legs outstretched as if sitting down). It was stinging quite a bit from a 1m board so we were both a bit wary as we prepared to launch ourselves off the 3m in front of a cheering crowd of 500 or so people. Weirdly we both found it hurt less, and Johny found the courage to tackle the 5m board next while I contemplated going for the 10m. In the end I chickened out and went for the 7m, which still sets your vertigo off when you’re peering over the edge and pondering over the fact that you don’t really know what you’re doing. In the end I star jumped it and that seemed good enough for the judges to declare me the winner over Johny, who made himself feel better by pushing me in the pool. What a sore loser (although not as sore as some of those competitors must be feeling tonight).