DCSIMG

Was Splash! really a flop?

Pauline Nicholls (nee Merrill) (left), an unknown male and Joyce Gardiner dive from the five metre board at Derby Baths, Blackpool, in the early 1940s. Below, Pauline can see her own legs as she dives.

Pauline Nicholls (nee Merrill) (left), an unknown male and Joyce Gardiner dive from the five metre board at Derby Baths, Blackpool, in the early 1940s. Below, Pauline can see her own legs as she dives.

Some will say it has made a change seeing celebrities doing something different than skating, dancing, arguing with everyone else in the house or roughing it in the jungle.

The grand final – or watery end, depending on your point of view – of ITV reality show Splash!, saw British skiing legend Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards the victor, cheered on by Olympic medallist Tom Daley.

The series, hosted by Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan, could be returning for a second outing, but retired swimming teacher Pauline Nicholls (nee Merrill), of Carleton, has been far from impressed with the idea behind the reality programme.

She says: “It is lucky there have been no serious accidents for the so-called celebrities or else they might well have become famous for the wrong reasons.”

Pauline speaks from experience of seeing injuries when she was training seven decades ago.

She says: “In the early 1940s when we were competing for races and diving honours we concentrated on a flat dive or racing dive to make a quick getaway in a race.

“Fancy diving somersaults and tuck diving was something we did for fun to show off for the public swimmers.

“In the early stages we wore thick jumpers to take the pain out of a nasty ‘flop’. Someone diving from 10 metres without knowledge or experience is neither brave nor clever.”

She recalls: “A national champion, who I will not name, was training at Derby Baths and flooked a 10 metre dive. He suffered such bad stomach injuries that his screams were heard loud and clear.”

Among the local swimmers Pauline trained with were Joyce Gardiner, who she describes as “a brilliant diver who married fellow brilliant diver Lol Goodwin.”

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