Diving and academics are the perfect vehicles for expressing my core characteristics: creativity and perseverance. The physical and mental strength I have achieved through diving allows me to know that I can overcome any obstacle in my way and better myself from it. I could not be the young woman I am today – outspoken, loud, quirky and unafraid to show who I am – without diving. The sport has shaped me, taught me focus, and the ability to work towards goals while shutting out the noise of daily life.
Through my troubles and triumphs, the pool has been my home and safe haven: a place I could escape to and let my worries wash away in the chlorine. Diving has been an integral part of my life for a decade. Since I was little, I loved the pool and started swimming young. At 5 years old, I started gymnastics; I found tumbling and flipping exhilarating. My mother told me I was her little kangaroo, because, when I was on the bars, I flew through the air, jumping as high as a kangaroo.
In fall of 2010, I finally found the sport for me: diving! I discovered the feeling of jumping off the board was beyond thrilling, like I was the kangaroo again flying on the bars but 10 times more exhilarating. Unlike the mundane drawl of swimming, I discovered with diving that I could indulge in a variety of different dives and never be bored.
My first 5 years in this sport were amazing. I was winning competitions and I felt so fulfilled, happy, and excited every time I got on the board. I loved my club and being part of a team. I had coaches that believed in me, understood my fears, and helped me overcome them. Then, my first club team suddenly disbanded and my team scattered. I was lost.
A new local club formed in its place and I have been a member of it since then, but it does not meet the needs of competitive divers. The coach does not push divers to be their best and focuses mainly on the basics. While I was appreciative that at least there was an opportunity for some training, I was frustrated because I had a drive to do more. Additionally, our facilities are lackluster. When I used to compete in meets, I saw the higher quality facilities that my peers used for training. They had ropes over the diving boards, trampolines, and an area for dryland training. On the other hand, the facility that I trained at barely had enough room for spectators to watch swim meets and any minor dry land practice we had was done in the pool’s maintenance room.
There came a point during the second year on the club team where I wanted to call it quits. The pool, which was once my solace, became a place of dread. While I’d get on the board each practice, I’d experience a constant barrage of negative commentary from my coach, including encouraging me to quit diving. However, I knew that wasn’t right for me and I would not quit. Instead, I found my strength to continue, working with the new coach and doing what I could to become a better diver. I pushed myself every practice to get my front flip and reverse dive. While I kept smacking over and over again, after 6 months of pushing myself, I got them. After that, I knew I could conquer any challenge.
In pursuit of my mission to do everything I could to hone my skills and diversify my training, I enrolled in summer diving camps. For my first years, I spent my summers at the Army Diving Camp at Westpoint and Naval Academy Diving Camp. The coaches gave me the attention and training that my club team was not supplying. There, I started learning to dive off the tower and grew a larger dive list. Five years ago, I started going to Ripfest Diving Camp, where my diving excelled further. I got 1 ½ in all directions on 3m, my tower list grew, went up to 7m, and my 1m dives were looking better than ever.
Athletes have been particularly hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, none more so than in the New York Metropolitan area. I was so grateful when I heard Ripfest was opening for camp with dormitory housing and signed up right away to attend for a month. As well as giving me the opportunity to train again, Ripfest enabled me to compete at AAU Nationals with their team. It was a huge honor and one I’ve been hoping for so long. While I didn’t place, I was finally able to put a dive list together, compete, and make All American.
In addition to my diving, academics are my strongest suit. I have held a 3.9 GPA my entire high school career and developed a strong, award winning talent for creative writing. I’ve been told for years that I have a very active imagination. Over the years, my passion for writing grew and I started consistently drafting novelas and poetry. For my work, I won national and local awards for my dystopian story, ‘The Cold World’, and a few of my other pieces as well. Additionally, I was bestowed a community award from my synagogue for a poem I wrote about the Holocaust.
In high school, I discovered and developed an interest in environmental studies. For my first 2 years of high school, I went to a specialized environmental studies school, where I learned through special coursework how to ferment vegetables and tend to agriculture. For college, I am interested in pursuing a major that speaks to my interests in agriculture, environmental studies, and/or business management. These courses of study are important to me, because I hope to one day own and operate a vineyard and winery. My interest in viticulture and winery management combines my love for the environment, creativity, and output driven attitude.
Currently, my best dives on 1m, 3m, and platform are the following:
1m: back dive, back 1 ½, back flip*, front 1 ½*, back 1 ½ with half twist, reverse dive, reverse flip
3m: back dive, inward dive, reverse dive, front 1 ½, back 1 ½
5m: inward dive, back dive, armstand flip, front 1 ½
7m: inward dive and back dive
Dives I’m working to improve on:
1m: back double, inward 1 ½, reverse 1 ½, front 1 ½ with full twist, back flip with 1 ½ twists
3m: front 2 ½, back 2 ½, inward double, front 1 ½ with full twist, back 1 ½ with 1 ½ twists, reverse 1 ½
5m: inward 1 ½, front 2 ½, reverse dive, back 1 ½ with half twist, back 1 ½