A TEENAGE open water diver has gained a challenging qualification at the tender age of 14. 

Brianna Johnston, who is a pupil at the Stanway School, can now dive at any PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) centre in the world after learning the basic skills of the sport.

The student trained with the Essex School of Diving.

The centre trains junior and advanced divers from age ten at Colchester Leisure World.

Brianna undertook theory and practical assessments in an indoor pool where she learnt skills including how to breathe underwater and what to do if water gets into her mask before being ready for the open water.

During a weekend away she was assessed at the Gildenburgh Water Dive Centre, near Peterborough, where she passed all four dives – one of which included manoeuvring around a double-decker bus.

She said: “It was quite nerve-racking and the water was freezing.

“I’ve not done anything that compares to this. I used to watch people doing it on TV like on Deadly 60 and became really interested, but I’ve been swimming since four years old so I’m quite comfortable in the water and love doing it.”

The Essex School of Diving offers three recreational level open water diving courses, taking students up to rescue diver stage.

By the end of the year, it expects to qualify about 80 students.

Instructor Stuart Clough said Brianna’s tutors thought she was fantastic and were proud of her progress.

He said: “She did so well in her four dives that within hours of qualifying she was planning a dive for herself.”

To date, Brianna has reached depths of 10.4 metres and has a Gold Rookie Lifeguard Award with life support.

She hopes to dive in the Mediterranean sea next year while visiting her grandparents in Spain as well as off the Cornwall coast.

She added: “It would be a different experience in fresh water and I’d get to see the sea life as the area is known for basking sharks.”