The Great Britain Diving Federation was formed in 1992, out of a frustration in the sport with Diving’s governing body in the UK, the Amateur Swimming Association. Its aim was to take over from the ASA as the governing body of the sport with its stated aim ‘The organisation and management of diving by diving’. It was felt that the ASA was not answerable to the diving membership and that diving was suffering from a lack of focus and understanding of it’s needs by the swimming dominated ASA. In this it was not alone, Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming were having similar problems.
For a number of years the GBDF was successful in its aims, and by 1996 was effectively running the sport in the UK, introducing, in conjunction with the then active BDCA, highly successful Novice and Masters competitions and developing the Diving Festival events.
From 1997, with the introduction of Lottery funding, there began a shift back to the ASA, and recognizing this, the GBDF re-focused and concentrated on two main areas, Novices and Masters.
The GBDF is now a smaller organization than in it’s heyday, but it retains a number of key values that are vital to its success in the future and that is a strong focus on the sport and the flexibility that comes from an organization that gives decision making powers to its directors. This means that we can change what we do if there is a requirement to do so. An example of this is our willingness to change our dive conditions for competitions. We believe for example, that a dive test isn’t set in stone and should be modified or indeed completely changed if circumstances warrant it. We should continually look at our events to ensure that we are meeting the needs of divers and develop quality events to help move the sport onwards.
We run events in two areas: Masters, where we are the major force, running the only national series of events, plus specific training weekends, and also Novices, where we have re-introduced our Novice Championships this year after a two year absence, and are looking to organize a series of Development weekends. In addition we will develop into other areas if there is a need to do so.
Communication was also a key area in the early days of GBDF, something that we sadly let slip during the transitional period in the late 90’s. In the past year we have re-introduced NewSplash, our quarterly newsletter that is again being sent to all members and a selected number of other people within the sport. Alongside NewSplash we have this web site, rapidly developing to become the diving resource on the web.
The GBDF is managing to grow areas of the sport and is also able to raise issues of importance within diving; it is also looking to develop other areas that are sadly overlooked by other organizations. All of this by an un-funded organisation working from its membership and competition fees.