Diving off the Edge

Sydney Espinosa, Sports Editor

One of the more respected competitive programs in the state has the least amount of members.

The diving team has only five girls,  and their all underclassmen: one freshman and four sophomores.

“Over the last 25 years, the diving team had some years they only had one diver, and other years with as many as 14. Five is a good number for the team,.In most meets we can only enter two or three girls on each level,” Coach  Rick Carlson said.

At some of the invitational meets, there may be as many as 50 divers doing 11 dives each. Diving does require a different mindset and a little more courage to be good, according to Carlson.

“It takes courage because there is always a chance of you flopping on your face or your stomach,” freshman Zi’Onay Walker said. “I also think that it takes mental will power because when you see other people flopping or completing a dive, it’s intimidating.”

Diving isn’t separate from the swimming team; it’s just one of 12 events at swimming meets.

“Our boys and girls have been state champions, runners up and we have had too many state finalists to count. Several divers have received college scholarships and have gone on to have distinguished careers in college,” Carlson said.

The diving team’s first meet was against Lincoln Way Central with wins on both levels.  Sophomore Briana Meyer came in first place and sophomore Zakiya Walker came in second place.

“We are allowed to enter two girls on JV and two girls on Varsity in our Conference meet. That means that we need four girls who each will be able to do 11 different dives in order to compete,” Carlson said.

Carlson is hoping that Zakiya will be ready to qualify for the state meet this year.

“I’m just trying to get in as many dives in as I can,” Zakiya said. “I am opening my mind to try new things, as challenging as they might be, so I can hopefully place higher than I did at Sectionals and get to State.”

Diving is a trial and error sport, they learn from mistakes. The only drawback to only having five people on the team is that some of the girls don’t know enough dives to enter all of the meets, according to Carlson.

“It is weird only practicing with only four other people on your team because I was used to practicing by myself, preparing for Sectionals, but I think it is better because you can compare yourself to others,” Zakiya Walker said.

Most of the divers are beginners to the sport.  At this point, the diving team is just trying to learn enough dives to be eligible to dive in meets.

“If you want to dive, then you just keep going at it because you get better and better as you progress, just like any other sport,” Zi’Onay Walker said.“If you really like it, you’ll go far in it.”