The last time Calvin Grav operated the Prince Rupert Orca Diving Club, Jean Chretien was in his second term as Prime Minister of Canada and the European currency ‘Euro’ was just introduced.
In 1999, Grav had to shut down the club when he was promoted to look after the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre. More than 13 years later, Grav, the only provincial coach in the area now has more time and resources to commit to the club, which had eight active members attend the meet on Friday.
“Yeah, it’s been awhile … I just didn’t have the time to operate the club and operate the swimming pool at the same time back then,” said Grav last week during a dive meet for the club.
“Life has changed since then. I’m a manager now and I’ve got things under control a little better at the facility. My personal life is a little different than it was back then … It felt great to start it back up again. I had a bunch of people come to me in the summer and ask me to restart the club, so I re-formed it and here we are”
Two of those people were Jordan and Kennedy Weir, twin sisters who had seen the club operate all those years ago and decided they wanted some first-hand experience on the board.
“When Jordan and I were in swim club, we’d do flutter kicks with the board and I remember seeing the old dive team do all their cool routines, so that’s when I realized I wanted to try starting it once it started up again,” said Kennedy.
Along with the club’s dismantlement, some of the diving equipment was accidentally sold off, so Grav is working on getting some dry-land resources, like a trampoline and dry-board, with the help of donations.
For those interested in diving there haven’t been a whole lot of options, but as Grav points out, the interest drives the club.
“I tried a couple times to do some learn-to-dive (programs) during the 13 years but between here and probably Kamloops there really is no clubs operating right now,” said Grav.
Eight regulars participated Friday in some stretching and limited dry-land exercises. They then took part on some routine dives off the one-metre (high) board, one of two diving boards the Aquatic Centre houses.
“It’s way different,” said Kennedy of the three-metre board.
“This (one-metre) board, you have less time to do (the dive) so when you’re falling you usually end up going over and it just smacks and it really hurts. It’s scary at first.”
Kennedy’s favourite dive is the backflip, perhaps the scariest of them all.
“I like them. They’re just really fun to do because you get lots of momentum swinging yourself backwards … Calvin almost had to push us (off the board) to get us to do it, but once you do it you realize how much fun it is,” said Kennedy.
Both Weir sisters took part in the February B.C. Winter Games in Mission and came away with more knowledge of the sport.
“It was cool seeing the dives because here we don’t have older divers who already know how to do most of the stuff except for our coach, so seeing everyone do them made it a lot clearer for us to try and do them too,” said Jordan.