Brescia House School’s divers “give it their all” at National Aquatics Festival in Durban
Springboard diving is an aquatic sport that requires extraordinary athleticism and courage, where athletes dive off varying heights ranging from one metre all the way up to ten and above for those daring enough! It is a sport that requires a lot of dedication and effort and it takes a special kind of someone to do it, and in this case, those special people are the divers of Brescia House School.
Their coach, Fiorella Barberini, began working at Brescia House School in 2010. The team consisted of only six divers at the time which was the minimum number of divers required for the Inter-High schools diving competition, with no reserves available. This young group of divers managed a sixth position that year and has consistently improved over the years. As of today, Brescia House School is averaging a third overall in most of the larger Gauteng competitions, just behind two other top sporting schools in Johannesburg.
Brescia House School’s Primary School team has also grown by leaps and bounds over the past twelve years and have consistently improved their results after originally averaging around a sixth or seventh placing at the annual Inter-Schools diving competitions. In the last pre-Covid Inter-Schools competition in 2019, Brescia House School placed second overall in both the A & B sections – fantastic results for the young athletes that are only given six weeks a year of practice, making the accomplishments of the Brescia House diving teams even more impressive.
Fiorella Barberini has always had a deep passion for the sport of diving, she herself took part in the sport for many years and competed at a National level. Fiorella started her coaching career at Brescia House School and her involvement in the diving community has flourished since then. She started training as a diving judge, was FINA qualified by 2014, and now runs the judging portfolio for South Africa. She has represented South Africa internationally at the Junior World Championships in Russia in 2014. Fiorella continues to organise and coordinate the judges at every major diving event, including the annual Central Gauteng Aquatics and National Age Groups.
Although diving has been around in South Africa for decades, it is still not a widely recognised sport. Most municipal facilities for the sport have been removed or demolished, and those that are still standing need a lot of maintenance to make them safe for diving. Due to this, diving relies heavily on the generosity of private institutions, these are mainly private schools where the majority of training and competitions take place. The sport of diving would truly benefit from more funding which would in turn allow for safer apparatus, higher levels of performance and international travel in order to compete.
To shine at the sport of diving you need to be truly dedicated. The Brescia House School girls have what it takes to excel at this sport. This is made obvious by the hours of training they put in whenever required, which includes early morning training as well as late afternoons. Their dedication to the sport is so strong, that they readily spend weekends and holidays training, especially in the weeks leading up to big competitions.
Currently the team is training for the prestigious National Aquatics Festival in Durban on the 11 February 2022, where their coach is certain the divers will “give it their all” and exhibit all the hard work they have put in this season. Fiorella and the diving girls of Brescia House School continue to prove that with enough talent, practice and dedication, you can be that special kind of someone.