Prince George has gone without a diving club for over a decade, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise that when Engage Sport North decided to launch the Prince George Pikes dive club at the beginning of 2023, the two quality sport programs they were offering quickly reached capacity – not to mention that they accumulated lengthy waitlists.
According to coach Sarah Saunders, the community has been waiting for something like this.
“With our mission to support and promote sport participation, we saw that the Olympic-level diving boards at the Prince George Aquatic Centre were under-utilized and knew something needed to change. We are encouraged by the incredible registration numbers,” she said.
The diving club is just the latest development to come out of the Physical Literacy for Communities (PL4C) initiative, an endeavour subsidized by Sport for Life and Public Health Agency funding. Participants will get a chance to develop their physical literacy in a supportive setting, which will have a positive impact on the wellness of the local population.
“There are so many benefits to diving,” said Pikes coach Tim Joyce. “Physical fitness is a large part of diving, and there is also a large mental component that helps with mental health and focus. On the diving board, you have something to strive for, and you’re really up against yourself.”
Joyce was a competitive diver in Australia. Once he retired from the sport, he had no plans on coaching. Then one day while at the pool with his nephews, he started teaching them basic diving techniques, and before he knew it, they were meeting weekly. The group began to grow.
“I am a stay-at-home dad, so I decided to pick up a bit of a hobby. That is where it all started, and now, it is a club,” said Joyce.
The Pikes are applying for not-for-profit status within the community and looking for board members, volunteers, coaches and athletes with a passion for diving. With more programming opening in the spring, the Pikes need more coaches and volunteers to offer this experience to more athletes.