The Gay Games have been over for almost a month now, but for Pete Dillon the spirit definitely lives on. Dillon ran the diving competition in Sydney and was more than a little inspired by the response of audiences and competitors alike.
Not only were there more gay and lesbian divers out there than he’d anticipated, he also saw a pool of talent (sorry) ready to be tapped. With competitive diver and coach Peter Curtis, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian diving club was born.
We’re doing a Learn To Dive program for anyone, starting in January, Dillon told the Star. Peter’s an accredited coach and I’m going for my accreditation as well -¦ and we’ve got half a dozen divers who are already gonna dive in the club.
Whilst it’s quite a technical and difficult-looking sport, TR Keller, who won three gold and silver at the Gay Games, only started diving two years ago. It’s not something that people look and think, -˜I can’t do that,’ the Learn To Dive program is going to show them how.
Dillon knows what he’s talking about. He retired from diving at the ripe old age of 16, competing for the first time at the age of five.
It was the local under-9s which I won. I actually beat my brother who was two years older. He was a bit pissed off about that I think, laughed Dillon. Of Dillon’s 10 siblings, eight have dived competitively. He tells me that he hadn’t dived since he was 16 -“ the Games has gotten him back on the springboards in more ways than one.
Dillon was recently elected chair of diving for the International Gay And Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA), and as the first Australian to hold the position, is keen to compete as well as raise the profile of the organisation. Taking time out from his work in corporate hospitality, Dillon hopes to compete in the IGLA’s annual championships, as well bringing back some gold medals for Australia in Montreal 2006.
An added warm and fuzzy consequence of the Gay Games’ inclusive principles is that Dillon is also hoping to revive a national Masters Diving Association (which is not exclusively gay or lesbian).
Masters constitutes anyone that is over 18; divers tend to retire young. We had divers ranging in age from 20, 21 through to 54 at Gay Games. That’s where we’ll head, Dillon said.
To join the diving club, contact the two Peters on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.