Horton-Perinchief inspiring next generation
Katura Horton-Perinchief is using her vast experience to teach enthusiastic youngsters the art of diving.
The Olympian has been busy hosting her seven-week summer camp, Star Diving, at the Aquatics Centre at the National Sports Centre with about 115 youngsters taking part under the watching eye of Horton-Perinchief and her mother Ellen-Kate Horton, who is a FINA certified judge.
“There are a lot of little kids, they're flipping and diving and it's pretty cool to watch and for some of them after only a few days,” Horton-Perinchief said.
“It's for seven weeks, some come for seven weeks, some for one or two, so it's a week-to-week thing.
“The response has been great and we haven't been able to keep kids off the waiting list. We start registration in April and were full by mid-May and didn't even start the camp until the very last week of June.”
On any summer day throughout Bermuda there are scores of youngsters flipping and diving off the rocks, but the diving camp offers them some structure and safety skills.
“I'm not going to stop them from jumping off the rocks and bridges but at least when they go now they know how to go in properly and it's much safer,” Horton-Perinchief said. “They're learning diving safety and diving skills.”
Horton-Perinchief was a diver for about 20 years after taking up the sport in Toronto, where she grew up. It has been eight years since she last competed although she still sometimes performs in front of the youngsters to show them the correct techniques. She would love for the Island to produce another top-level diver.
“We can't run a programme year round, unfortunately, and the kids would need to be here six days a week,” said the 32-year-old, who competed at the 2004 Athens Games.
“We certainly have the talent and some of them are so good. This [camp] is about awareness and controlling your body and they're all learning really quickly and they love it.
“It's a summer camp, so we love to have fun first and foremost. I would love to see another Olympian at some point. I miss the sport and every so often I fling myself off high things along with the kids; they like to see me dive.”
The children in the camp range from 5 to 14, the youngest at the same age Horton-Perinchief was when she began diving in Canada.
Among the youngsters taking part in the camp is Anaiya Bascome.
“She just turned five on Sunday and started on Monday and this was how I started,” Horton-Perinchief added.
“That's why I started the camp at five, because I figured they can dive when they're five.
“We bring in visiting coaches and it's a great deal for the kids. About 70 of them are new this year. The little kids love it and are definitely improving from week to week.”
Horton-Perinchief was the first black woman to compete in Olympic diving and knows what it is to break through barriers.
In February, she was appointed to the Women and Sport Commission of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees.
She is also on the board of the Bermuda Olympic Association and chairwoman of the Athletes' Commission and the BOA Women In Sport Committee.
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