Two Sports, One Pool
Diving is a unique sport with so many flips and twists. Photo by Jack McLaughlin.

Two Sports, One Pool

The men’s and women’s diving team may be at the other end of the pool than the swimming team, but both are excited to work together at the upcoming conference meet.

Divers compete on a one meter board and a three meter board.

“We compete six or 11 dives on each board and each dive is assigned a degree of difficulty, which is multiplied by the judge’s scores to form a total score,” said Deavonte Smith, junior captain.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin.

There are five different categories that a diver has to follow during a meet, including forward, back, reverse, inward, and twisters.

Head coach Sara Schierl offers well-rounded training to her divers. Every Sunday, her husband comes in and works on a weight lifting program with them.

It is typical for divers to have a gymnastic background. Earlier this season, Schierl had a Division I gymnastic trainer come work with them.

“A gymnastic background is common, but we’ll work with anyone willing to give it a try work hard and be part of a team,” Schierl said.

Beth Schaffer became the assistant coach this year. She was on the team last year and offered to help out after her eligibility to compete ended.

“After competing for four years, I still wanted to be part of the team,” Schaffer said. “I offered to help out and she suggested I be the assistant coach. She’s really busy so it works out. I help out and she can take off when she needs to.”

Schaffer finds the coaching side quite different and has learned a lot. There are still a few challenges.

“I started out as a teammate for a lot of them, so it’s hard for them to see me as a coach,” Schaffer said. “I want to be able to maintain the friendships I had with them while still being their coach.”

Shaffer led a ten day training trip in Hawaii over winter break, which gave divers the opportunity to train outside.

“Monday through Friday, we had practice at least once a day with a couple two-a-days, “ Shaffer said. “We did a lot of things on dry land. We worked out in outdoor gyms and climbed Koko Head and Diamond Head.”

The divers also ride the Green Circle together annually and participate in a mud run in Schierl’s backyard.

Fun and games aside, the divers are preparing for the conference meet that is a few weeks away.

“We had a diver receive a nine on a dive and had two NCAA divers of the week,” Schierl said. “They were Sean Cloghessy and Jackie Braun. Jackie was five points away from qualifying for conference, which is impressive for a freshman.”

Photo by Jack McLaughlin.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin.

For the conference, the Pointers can send divers in sets of threes.   As a result, the top three scoring divers will go to the meet at the end of February.

“I just want to keep them positive,” Schaffer said. ” Diving is mentally challenging, and if you’re not there mentally, then you can’t force yourself to do it. So the biggest thing is to keep the pressure off.”

Smith’s favorite part of diving is overcoming the mental blocks and challenging himself with new dives.

“Every diver goes through many mental obstacles before physically throwing themselves off a springboard,” Smith said.

The team is always looking  for divers with or without experience. Schierl encourages anyone who is interested to come to the captain’s practices at the beginning of the season to try it out.

“We have fun at our end of the pool and have great rapport with the swimmers at the other end,” Schierl said.


Rebecca Vosters


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