21-year-old Jack Laugher and 23-year-old Chris Mears made history for British diving in Rio, becoming the nation’s first-ever Olympic gold medalists in the sport. The duo paired up for the 3m springboard synchronized event at the 2016 Olympic Games, with Laugher also scoring a silver in the men’s individual 3m springboard a week later at the same competition.
Despite the international success from Laugher and Mears, their coach Adrian (Ady) Hinchliffe will be moving on from British diving to take over the helm of National Diving in Brisbane, Australia. Employed by Leeds City Council and working as a Consultant for British Diving, Hinchliffe was hoping for an official job offer from GBR Diving in order to stay on board through the next quadrennial. However, BBC Sport reports that no such offer was made, leading Hinchliffe to look for employment elsewhere.
Voicing extreme discontent regarding the situation are the gold medal-winning duo of Laugher and Mears, with Laugher telling BBC Sport of Hinchliffe, “He’s achieved things as a coach that no-one in this country has ever done before and it’s a massive insult to me and to Ady.”
“British Diving and the national performance director [Alexei Evangulov] have really overlooked how much of a key part he is.
“To have someone like Ady say ‘sack this I’m leaving’, well it should never have got to this point.”
In a statement, British Swimming, of which British Diving is a part, said: “British Diving is obviously disappointed with Ady’s decision to move on to work in Australia, as he has done great things for the sport.
“We were aware that he wanted to work with the sport full-time and we were in the process of beginning discussions but unfortunately timescales didn’t allow these to conclude.
“We’d like to thank him for all of his hard work and dedication, and we wish him well for the future in Australia.”
In the Diving Australia hiring announcement, Hinchliffe said, “in some ways it is a bittersweet moment in accepting this appointment, as I have loved coaching in Great Britain, and more particularly Leeds, but the opportunity to commence this new role in Australia at a truly world class program, was one I could not pass up for myself and my family. With a home Commonwealth Games for Australia on the horizon and then the Tokyo Olympics a little further away, the time is absolutely right to explore this new challenge and I am so excited to be working with Diving Australia and the amazing Australian athletes”.
Diving Australia Chairman Michael Murphy said of the appointment, “Ady is a rising, indeed risen, star in the diving coaching world and we are incredibly excited to secure him to lead our Brisbane program and be a huge part of our National Coach Panel. We will leave no stone unturned in our quest to continually improve our programs and systems for the benefit of our athletes and we know this appointment will do exactly that”.