HOUSTON, Texas, January 16. NEWS broke recently that British superstar diver Tom Daley had been looking at leaving Plymouth to train with Houston head coach Jane Figueiredo with a focus on the 2016 Rio Olympics. It looks like British Swimming didn’t like that idea, and instead found a way to bring Figueiredo on board as the new head diving coach in London, with Daley moving his training base from Plymouth to London.
“Plymouth will obviously always be my home but after thinking long and hard about my future in diving, I have decided that a change will be beneficial to my development,” Daley said in a statement. “I have my sights firmly set on Rio 2016, and I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter in my diving career in London. I have some great memories at that pool. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Andy for all his help over the years. He has been pivotal to my achievements and I wouldn’t be the diver I am today without his continued dedication and support. I know we will keep in close contact and I know he will always be there for me. I also want to thank everyone at the Life Centre and the Council for their support over the years. I will obviously miss everyone at Plymouth Diving but will look forward to the trips home.”
With the move, Daley leaves his first and only coach Andy Banks in Plymouth, but will be taking his bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics back to where he won the hardware.
“The opportunity to coach somebody as world class and elite as Tom Daley is something that I am really looking forward to. I feel I have a lot to add to the great work that has already been done to get Tom to where he is,” Figueiredo said. “I am really excited to coach someone of Tom’s stature on men’s Platform and take up the challenge that goes with that. We have a good period of time and a great shot to work towards Rio and I can’t wait for that journey to begin.”
The move required Figueiredo to end her 24-year tenure with Houston Diving. The Cougars, however, have settled on one of the top divers produced by Figueiredo to step in as the interim diving coach as Olympian Yulia Pakhalina will take the reins the rest of the 2014 season.
“I am excited for the start of Yulia’s coaching for the program that she made such a significant impact on,” said Houston head swimming coach Rich Murphy. “Yulia is a huge part of our tradition of success and I am confident she will be an asset.”
Figueiredo brings a hefty resume with her to London. The Zimbabwe native has been named NCAA Diving Coach of the Year four times (2001, 2003, 2009, 2010) and has coached 14 divers to 51 All-American honors, including eight NCAA titles .