Diving!!

Hello again my awesome readers,

I am SO sorry I haven’t posted in nearly two weeks!!! 😦 Don’t worry though, my passion for blogging is still going strong, it’s just that finals start tomorrow and I’ve literally been studying all day every day for the past two weeks.

I just finished studying for my calculus final, which is on Tuesday, and I am in dire need of a catharsis (honestly though, calculus is so draining). My other finals include Physics Honors, US History, and AP English. We don’t have a first semester final for AP Chem, just a lab, which is such a relief!!!

Now on to the main topic of this blog: I started diving!!!!

Yes, you heard me. I actually tried diving last week at Stanford Diving Club. I was super terrified, since diving is really out of my comfort zone and I didn’t know what to expect from it. The sport of diving in and of itself goes against your instincts- you’re doing crazy (dangerous) dives off of super high platforms, and just ’cause you’re landing in water doesn’t mean it won’t hurt if you enter the water incorrectly (I’ve done that about five times so far…) Anyway, SDC is one of the best diving clubs in the nation. Seriously, that place is home of several olympians and national champions. It is NO JOKE.

My first impression of this diving club was that everyone there- coaches, divers, parents- are extremely friendly and welcoming. My coach is a Russian lady, who is really the sweetest Russian I’ve ever met. She is stern with her corrections, but always points out the things you did well and is super encouraging. All of the divers there, ranging from young children to even adults, are very very supportive, helpful, and friendly. Initially I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in with the other divers in my group, since most of them have been doing diving for years already, but I really had nothing to worry about!

During my try-out session, we started the hour and a half training with warm-up on dryland. We basically did a bunch of conditioning and stretching to get the muscles awake and alert. Then we moved on to the trampoline, where I was introduced to the proper technique of jumping on the springboard.

After lots of jumping and flipping on the tramp, we changed into our swimsuits and starting diving into the water.

If you’ve never jumped on a diving springboard, let me just tell you, jumping on a springboard feels NOTHING like jumping on a trampoline. I made the mistake of thinking the springboard feels exactly like a trampoline. The difference between the two is hard to describe in words, but I can easily say that jumping on diving boards really took some getting used to.

I learned quite a few simple dives- no flips just yet. The most memorable part of my day was smacking the water HARD with the backs of my thighs, because I stayed in a pike position for too long upon my entry into the water. Smacking the water hurt REALLY BADLY, since the surface of the water is hard. The initial sting lasted for only a few minutes, although my legs were red for the rest of the day :/

My coach had me dive off the 2nd level platform, which has to be at least 5 meters high. I was SO TERRIFIED in the beginning, since she wanted me to do a front dive (head first into the water) off the platform. I’m not scared of heights, but diving head first from such a high platform was terrifying. I remember cursing as I looked down at the water below me. After standing at the edge of the platform for two minutes, I finally mustered the courage to step off that platform. And it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My first dive was pretty clean, although the entrance into the water hurt my forehead a bit. After a couple dives, I really got the hang of it.

All in all, I really enjoyed my first day diving. Jumping off the springboard is super fun, and even jumping off really tall platforms is exhilarating. I love the adrenaline I get when I look at the water below, and the freedom I feel when I’m in the air.

The only bad news is that my coach told me that at my age, it would be very difficult for me to do diving competitively. It would take at least one year for me to start competing on the 1 meter springboard, and two years if I wanted to do everything else. By then, I would be out of high school, so it’s unrealistic for me to dive competitively. I was surprised by the amount of time it would take me to start competing, since I had the impression that I could start diving competitively in a matter of months.

Even so, I’m still eager to pursue diving. It’s always good to have a hobby outside of school to help me release my stress. Diving is also great exercise. Most importantly, I find the sport super fun.

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