19th-Born on this day in 1909 in Ontario, California, Edwin Harold Smith, who was nicknamed “Dutch”.  He was affiliated to the Los Angeles Allied Athletics Club and made his Olympic debut in 1928 when he came 4th in the 3m springboard event, four years later in his home Games he won gold in the 10m platform and silver in the 3m springboard.  Domestically he won AAU springboard titles for 1m springboard in 1928 and 1930 and in the 3m in 1930 and 1931. After his Olympic successes he turned pro and appeared in various aquacades as well as coaching at the New York AC and Yale. He also prepared the German diving team for the 1936 Olympics.  During WWII he served as a captain in the US Navy and then worked as pool manager in luxury hotels in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.  He died on 5th March 1958 aged 49 in California.

British diver Denise Audrey Newman (later -St.Aubyn-Hubbard) was born today in Edmonton, London in 1924.  She competed as a high diver in the 1948 Olympics after working at Bletchley Park translating Japanese during the war. She went on to be the only female skipper in the Royal Navy Auxilary Service for 8 years, and in 1988, aged 64, she became the oldest woman to sail single-handed across the Atlantic. She spent her early years in a village near Cairo, Egypt, where her father was working for an oil company. It was here that she learned to dive, taught first by her mother then, from the age of 13, by an Egyptian coach. Denise was also a talented swimmer, breaking senior records in Egypt when she was still a junior. In 1937, aged just 13, she broke records for both the open 50m and 100m freestyle at the open Egyptian championships. Presented with a medal by King Farouk, she was hailed as “the big little champion” by La Bourse Egyptienne. She was going to compete in the 100m freestyle in the 1940 Olympics, but the games were cancelled following the outbreak of war. The family spent the early war years in Abadan, Iran, but in 1942 returned to Britain where Denise Newman set about joining up. She applied to the Air Ministry which, hearing she was fluent in French and Arabic, arranged for her to be interviewed by the Foreign Office. Sent on a 2½ course to learn Japanese, she completed it in six months and went on to work in the Japanese cipher section at Bletchley Park. She had good and bad memories of the 1948 “Austerity” Olympics, where she finished 5th in the 10m high-board event. Billeted with the other divers in cramped quarters on the fifth floor of the Domestic Science Training College in Eccleston Square, she recalled that it had been difficult to sleep on the uncomfortable beds and, as there was no separate diving pool at the Empire Pool, Wembley, the divers had to get up at five every morning to use the pool before the swimmers arrived. In 1945 she had married Vyvyan St Aubyn Hubbard, with whom she had a son and daughter, and in 1953 the family moved to Chichester, where Denise became interested in sailing. After learning the ropes in Chichester Harbour, a series of cross-channel trips in a friend’s small open boat led to a round Britain voyage in 1964. After divorcing in 1968, she set about supporting her family by  acquireing as many professional further sailing qualifications as she could. In 1970 she joined the Royal Navy Auxiliary Service, in which she served for 19 years . In August 1976, when her ship, the training vessel Portisham, arrived in Portsmouth, a newspaper report observed in the casual sexism of the era, that “the former minesweeper cut a pretty figure as she berthed… a figure almost as attractive as the skipper giving the orders. As the vessel was brought to the side without a bump, the skipper, wearing lipstick and with curves in all the right places, relaxed and smiled.” At the same time, Denise St Aubyn Hubbard taught navigation and seamanship at Chichester College and in 1973 she set up her own sailing school, first in Chichester, then at her own home in Bosham. In 1987, a sailing friend offered to lend her his ocean-going yacht, the 42ft Flying Light, to compete in the Carlsberg Single-Handed Transatlantic Yacht Race to Newport, Rhode Island. After successfully completing the qualifying voyage from Gibraltar to Gosport, on June 5 1988 she embarked at Plymouth and took the helm for the transatlantic competition. During the voyage Denise St Aubyn Hubbard had to cope with a series of mishaps which began off the Azores and in the final 24 hours she managed to cope with a failed navigational system. “I’m not someone who likes going backward,” she later said. “I had a strong feeling that I would make it to this side.” In her memoir In at the Deep End (1993) she wrote: “I had hardly eaten or slept over the past 36 hours but who cares, I was in. I had logged 3,600 nautical miles in 34 days and 10 hours to finish 71st [of 95 starters].” Denise died on 22nd January 2016.

Yuriy Alexandria Kunakov, born in Voronezh, Russia in 1990, competed at then 2008 Games in Beijing, where he won the 3m spring synchro silver medal along with Dmitri Sautin.


20th-Born on this day in 1891 in Sweden – Torsten Julius Eriksson, who competed at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm where he reached the second round of the plain high-diving event.  He died aged 88 on 29th July 1979.

Italian Italo Salice, born in Rome today in 1942, dived for his country at the Mexico Olympics in 1968, where he was placed 17th in the springboard competition. After retiring he moved into coaching.

British diver and latterly coach of Tonia Couch, Sally Freeman was born in 1974 in Plymouth.  She competed in Plymouth between 1985 and 1997 before moving to Leeds for three years from 1997. She is the first ever diver from Plymouth to qualify for a Senior International event and also competed in the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney she was placed 25th in the platform event.  Her coaching career began in Plymouth in 1992 and she has since coached for Leeds, Bradford and Southampton before relocating back to Plymputh in 2007.

Another diver born in 1974 was Russian Vera Sergeyevna Ilyina.  She competed in the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Diving for the CSKA Moskva club she was the Olympic 3m synchronised champion with Yuliya Pakhalina and silver in Athens in 2004 at the same event. World championship wise, representing Russia she gained two silvers, one each in 1994 and 2003.  She is also a tripe European springboard champion (1995 in 1m and 3m springboard and 1997 1m springboard), as well as three more silvers and a bronze between 1991 and 1997. She currently lives in Houston, USA

North-Korean diver Ri Hyon-ju, born in 1996 in Pyongyang, competed in the 10m platform at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Ren Xi, born in 2001 is known internationally as Ren Qian, won a silver medal in the 10m platform at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and then followed it with a gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the youngest champion to top the podium at the time (aged 15). Ren was selected for the Chinese diving squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, competing individually in the 10m platform. There, she comfortably claimed the gold with a total score of 439.25, making her the youngest champion at the Games and the only one from the championship field to tally more than 90 points on a single dive. Other World championship successes include gold in 2017 in Budapest in both 10m platform synchro and mixed synchro as well as the bronze in the 10m platform and a silver in the 10m platform in 2015 


21st-Andras Hajnal, born on this day in Budapest in 1982, winner of multiple age groups and adult championships is also a photographer and an economist. He featured in two Olympic Games – 2000 and 2004, placing 34th and 33rd respectively in the platform event. At the 2010 national championship won four events – 1m, 3m synchro, 10m platform, and 10m synchro tower.  He has been a photographer since 2006, mainly producing black and white images, he has exhibited at the Holdudvar in Margitsziget. He then graduated from the School of Commerce, Catering and Tourism at the Budapest College of Economics and then at the Széchenyi István University of Economics in the European Union. In August 2014, after a record-breaking 16 national championship titles he announced his retirement.

Indonesian platform diver Mohamed Nasrullah was born today in 1982.  He represented his country in the Sydney Olympics of 2000, where he finished in 40th place.

Sebastián Villa Castañeda, born in Antioquia, Colombia in 1992, competed in two Olympic Games. At the 2012 London Games he placed 2nd in the platform and went one better, coming 21st in the springboard. Four years later in Rio de Janeiro  he unfortunately failed to make the finals in the platform event.


22nd– George William Gaidzik was born on this day in 1885 in Chicago, USA. By sharing third place in the 1908 Olympic springboard event, George Gaidzik, the son of Polish immigrants, who represented the Chicago AA, prevented the Germans from making a clean sweep of the medals. He also placed fifth in the platform in 1908 and competed in all three diving events at the 1912 Olympics but failed to place in any of them. Gaidzik won the AAU outdoor platform title from 1909-1911 and was the indoor champion in 1910 and 1912. Due to an error by the nurse who reported his birth, his name was mistakenly registered as Edward Gadickâ. His mother was forced to make a sworn statement to this effect before he was issued with a passport to take him to the 1908 Games. Gaidzik and his fifteen year old son tragically died when a sudden storm capsized their boat on Lake Michigan on 25th August 1938, when he was just 53 years old.


23rdHelge Wasenius (sometimes called Vasenius) born in Helsinki in 1927 started his diving career at the Humallahti Swimming pool in 1934 when he was seven years of age and competed until he was 50. He joined the Sports Association in in Härvelä in its foundation year in 1946. Wasenius won 36 Finnish Championships, 6 Nordic Championships and in 1955 he won the European Championship. He represented Finland at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Wasenius represented the Helsinki Workers’ Swimmers and Härveli. In parallel to his more professional career he pursed another one as a children’s stunt diver, his speciality being when he cold-bloodily dangled head first, hanging by his feet from the high diving board. The Grand Old Man of divers, is the principal character in the film, a colourful daredevil of the sport. In the film he decides to perform his stunt one last time before making his final plunge into the unknown, even if all the water has been drained from the pool. The film take place at Helsinki Swimming Stadium, scene of the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics. Outside of sport he worked for more than 40 years, from 1949-90, with Veikkaus Oy, the Finnish national betting agency, as a chauffeur, purchasing agent and janitor, he died aged 80 on 27th January 2008.

Jerome Herbert “Jerry” Anderson, born today in Nebraska USA in 1932 died on 18th February 2009, of respiratory failure at 76, just five days short of his 77th  birthday. Jerry, a member of the US Naval Academy Class of 1954 and a nationally-ranked diver, had left the Naval Academy after two years in order pursue a medical career. He returned to Hastings College in Nebraska, to complete his pre-med courses and then entered Medical School at McGill University, Montreal. He was an All-American diver while at Hastings, and at McGill, he enjoyed another four years of Canadian Intercollegiate athletics participating in football, gymnastics and diving, achieving Canadian championships in gymnastics and diving. Following his graduation from Medical School in 1958, he chose to intern in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he continued to pursue his diving. He represented Puerto Rico in both the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games and coached diving in the 1972 Olympics. In 1998, Jerry was inducted into the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame. In 1978 he was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, a disease that attacks body organs by a clustering of immune cells to form lumps called granulomas. The disease is treated with cortisone, resulting in severe debilitation of joints. In effect, Jerry was crippled by these treatments and had to forego his medical practice.

West German diver Reinhard von Bauer, born on this day in 1945 in Brandenburg was affiliated to SC Licherfelde 1920 in Berlin. At his only Olympic competition he was 30th in the 1972 springboard event at Munich.


24th-American Glen Allen Whitten was born today in Lakeland, Florida in 1936. He attended Ohio State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1958 and a dental degree in 1962. He dove while in high school in Florida where he won the state high school championship. His club was the Ohio State Buckeyes where, in his first season of competition for the Buckeyes, 1955, he helped OSU to an undefeated record. An injured foot kept him out of the Big Ten Championship that year, but he recovered enough to take third place in both the 1m and 3m springboard at the AAU indoor championships. He participated in the 1956 Olympics in  Melbourne, where he was 4th in the springboard competition. He later focused on his dental practice but in his 50s turned his hand to inventions, receiving several patents. One of these was for Dzidra Glasses, which looked like bulky sunglasses, and were purported to help patients with migraines or other headaches, ostensibly by slowing brain wave activity. He died aged 78 on the 15th September 2014 in Vermont.


25th – Aleksey Petrovich Zhigalov, born on this day in Kazan in 1915, competing with Dynamo Moskva, he also took part in the 3m springboard at the 1952 Summer Olympics and finished in eighth place.  He won 17 national titles in the springboard (1934, 1936, 1937, 1943–1949) and platform (1934, 1936, 1937, 1946–1947, 1950, 1952). His wife Lyubov Zhigalova, also competed in the springboard at the 1952 Olympics, where she was placed 6th and repeated the feat four years later in Melbourne but this time in the platform event. Aleksey died at the age of 48 in Moscow on 7th July 1963.

Sweden’s John Helge Öberg, born in 1906 won a silver medal in the 10m platform at the 1926 European Championships. He competed in this event at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics and finished sixth in 1924 in Paris but failed to make the final stages in 1928 in Amsterdam. His home club was Stockholms KK in Stockholm, where he died aged 59 on 21st February 1966.

Britain’s synchro diver Tandi Jane Gerrard-Indergaard, who was born in 1978 in Johannesburg, South Africa, was affiliated to the City of Leeds Diving Club. Since 2001, Indergaard holds a dual citizenship with South Africa and Great Britain in order to compete internationally.  She is a three-time British diving champion and a bronze medallist for the synchro springboard at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. She started her sporting career as a gymnast at the very young age until she took up diving in 1992. She achieved her early success by winning the gold medal for diving as a demonstration sport at the 1995 All-Africa Games in Harare, Zimbabwe, and represented South Africa at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, where she met British-born Adrian Hinchliffe, who later served as her personal coach. In 2000, she graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand, with a degree in physical education. She was also selected for South Africa to compete at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but the South African Olympic Committee had decided not to send her. In April 2001, Indergaard moved from her native South Africa to England in order to pursue her further career in diving. She later became a member of the British national diving team (Team GB), and joined the City of Leeds Diving Club, under her personal and head coach Hinchliffe. Indergaard represented Great Britain at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where she and partner Jane Smith finished outside the medals in fourth place for the synchro springboard, with a score of 302.25. After Smith’s retirement in 2005, she teamed up with partner Hayley Sage, and together captured the bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. In the same year, she eventually married her close friend and Norwegian-born physiotherapist Ove Indergaard in Leeds. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she and her partner Sage, had a disastrous performance in the women’s 3m synchro springboard event, finishing only in eighth place, shortly after those Games, Indergaard retired and currently works as a physical education teacher at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds.

Mary Beth Dunnichay, born in Elwood, Indiana in 1993, started diving in 1999 after being inspired by her elder borther, Caleb, also a competitive diver. She was named in the 2008 US Olympic tea, where she was the youngest team member, in both the 10m platform and the synchro10m platform with Haley Ishimatsu. In the synchronized competition Ishimatsu and Dunnichay earned fifth place scoring 309.12. In May 2012, the city of Elwood, renamed their city pool Mary Beth Dunnichay Aquatic Centre. She has been hampered by shoulder problems throughout her career, having undergone three surgeries on her right shoulder. Until returning to the national team in the spring of 2015, she had not competed internationally since the 2011 World Championships. Mary Beth said the hardest part about returning to competition was dealing with the nerves and learning how to compete again. At the 2008 Games she was 5th in the 10m synchro, other highlights include;  World Championship silver in 2009 with Haley Ishimatsu in the 10m event. She has been part of the US World championship team (2007, 2009 and 2011) and a 2007 Pan-American games bronze medallist (10m synchro)