My name is Bethany Mercer and I've been diving for 5 years, following 11 years of competitive gymnastics. I've been pretty much upside down for as long as I've been able to walk, whether it be somersaulting over the furniture or going to the pool to do handstand contests and flips under water. In sixth grade one of my gymnastics teammates introduced me to diving and I fell in love immediately. Throughout my diving career I have gone through many phases of ups and downs. After states my freshman year (in 2020) I was beginning to tire more easily and I had been getting horrible migraines, almost every day. I was starting to feel unmotivated to go to practice because of the headaches. Then everything shut down and diving was taken away from me. As I took these months to fix my sleep schedule, start eating healthier, and take care of myself, my headaches slowly started to get better. Quarantine was really a blessing for me because I hadn't really had time off since I had started gymnastics at 4 years old, and my body needed a break. About a month after quarantine had started, and my migraines had slowed down significantly, I started to really miss diving and I realized how vital it was to my life. I started visualizing all of my dives before I went to sleep every night, I went to every single zoom dryland that my team held, and I had started to change my mindset and motivation. When we were finally allowed back in the pools in June I wasn't the same diver that I had been before. No longer was I going to let scary dives and headaches get in my way. After the quarantine, I haven't had many 'down' phases (with the exception of a couple rough practices here and there) and I have been on a constant uphill, both mentally and physically.
My ultimate goal is to become a physical therapist. Working with people is one of my strong suits and I couldn't imagine myself at a job that doesn't involve getting to talk to and work with others. This is one of my reasons, aside from my love of diving, that I would love to be on a college team. In college, I'm looking to make bonds with teammates and find a group of people that have similar goals and aspirations as I do. I thrive in social situations and I love pushing my teammates and have them push me to be the best that we can be. When I travel with American Flyers to meets, whether it be nationals or just a random Ohio Diving League meet, I am there for every event and every practice. One of the things that I love most about meets is how supportive and friendly everybody is to everybody, not just people on your team. Coming from gymnastics, where you really only talked to your teammates, diving meets seemed like such a healthy environment: where I got to talk to anybody, and the person waiting in line behind you in warmups can easily become one of your best friends and biggest supporters. I wouldn't trade the relationships that I've made with my teammates and coaches, and the discipline and motivation that I have gotten from this sport for anything.