When she comes up for air from her diving career, this athlete plans to jump into the juvenile justice field.
I was so nervous the first time I was on a diving board. For the first month, all I did was jump straight into the water. It took me a while to do my first real dive.
I participated in gymnastics from the time I could walk until I was 13 years old. Since I already knew how to flip and twist, a friend encouraged me to try out for my high school dive team. In gymnastics, you land on your feet, so it was weird getting adjusted to entering the water headfirst.
I am most comfortable flipping backward. My favorite dive is the 203a, which is a back one-and-a-half somersault in the straight position.
Diving Coach Eric Blevins has been really helpful when I learn a new dive. You learn a dive first on a trampoline using belts. Then you practice on the 1-meter board before going to the 3-meter. After I complete a dive for the first time, I’m then able to make corrections and figure out how to do it better.
Diving is scored on a scale from 0 to 10. The judges score you on all elements of the dive: height, form, proximity to the board, and entry. I have never seen a perfect 10, but I have seen a few divers get pretty close.
When I am on the board preparing for a dive, I know my body will not fail me. It has become muscle memory. I count down from three and start my dive.
I have always been interested in the crime field. I’d like to attend graduate school for criminal justice and focus on behavioral analysis. Many of the issues involving crime result from children being products of their environments. I want to help guide young people away from a life of crime and reintegrate them into society properly.
When COVID-19 first happened, it hurt to think that all the work put in at the pool might be put on hold. It’s been a huge relief to know the season this winter might happen, that we might be able to pull this off.
Photo: Bill Cardoni