Keira Lu, 10, is a Boardworks diver and 2017 provincial champion. Russel Faminoff photo

Canada’s best young divers coming to Saanich for junior nationals

Commonwealth Place to host Junior Nationals for youth divers aged 7 to 13

Not everyone can dive off a seven-metre platform, or even flip backwards off a three-metre springboard.

It takes a certain type of personality, coupled with the athletic ability.

At 12 years old, Carson Paul is happy to oblige. The Royal Oak middle school student is one of seven Boardworks diving club athletes between the ages of seven and 13 who will compete in this week’s Speedo Junior Development National Championships at Saanich Commonwealth Place, July 7 to 9.

“I’ve been doing it since I was 4,” Paul said. “Because not everyone can do it is [actually] one of the reasons I like it, and it’s fun. I’m happy the [nationals] are here this time so I don’t have to travel.”

The development nationals will draw 90 of Canada’s best junior divers to Saanich. The athletes are competing for spots on the Canadian team for the Pan Am Junior Diving Championships, which is also at Commonwealth Place, Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. The Pan Ams will feature the best youth divers from Canada, the United States and Central and South America.

“For five of our kids this week is their first time at nationals,” said Boardworks coach Lisa Boog. “It’s their first opportunity to compete on the national stage and it’s also great for our little ones who aren’t competing to see it, as they’ll be there to volunteer and to cheer on their teammates.”

Leading the way are Paul and teammate Keira Lu, 10. Both are 2016 Junior National bronze medallists and both swept gold for their age group at the recent 2017 summer provincials at Commonwealth Place on the one-metre, 3m and platform.

Diving runs Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.

In a few weeks Boardworks will send a crew of divers to the Canadian Junior National Championships (14 to 18) in Montreal.