LT diving takes on conference

Rory Quealy, Freelance writer

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Minutes before the conference meet on Nov. 1, the LT girls diving team continued its tradition of cheering, “A whole lotta this and a whole lotta that” followed by “one, two, three chumps” on the York pool deck to shake any nerves. It was the last team huddle of the regular season. 

“I was super sad at my last meet, because [diving] season was always my favorite part of my four years at LT,” Captain Cerys Egan ‘20 said. “Spending time with the team and diving has made me the person I am today.”

After practicing their 11 dives every day, including weekends, the LT divers were successful in their conference meet against Naperville North, Hinsdale Central, York, and Oak Park-River Forest. Divers Andrea Udziela ‘20 placed second and Emily Jacobs ‘21 took sixth in the varsity meet and in the freshman/sophomore meet Caroline Vear ‘22 placed fourth, Ellie Dillon ‘22 got fifth.

“I was very proud and very happy,” LT diving coach Julie McDermott said. “They dove so well and it was a great meet.”

But, preparing physically wasn’t all they had to do, , McDermott said. Diving is very different from most sports, so they did visualization as a team to build confidence in their dives.

“[Diving] is more mental than physical,” Vear said. “You can smack, which hurts a lot, but you still have to go back on the board and try again.” 

The 14 divers that make up the varsity and junior varsity teams are all very close, Vear said. They get a lot of downtime in practices since there are only two boards. They spend the rest of their practice sitting in a big horse trough filled with warm water that they call the hot bucket.

“We talk the whole practice and dive when it’s our turn,” Vear said. “In the hot bucket, it’s either a therapy session or just a fun time where we’re always laughing.”

The divers also spend a lot of time together outside of practices and meets, , Vear said. They have an annual sleepover at Avery Mavon‘s ‘21 house, where they all bring a different cereal to make rice crispy treats. They also often get food after practice and do homework together. 

“The teammates make it all worth it,” Vear said. “If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t do the sport.”

The divers overall had a very successful season this year, with only one loss to Hinsdale Central, McDermott said. The team is anticipating success in the postseason, starting with sectionals on Nov. 16. However, it is impossible to predict the results, because it is so easy to “balk” or fall out of a dive.

“Diving has taught me so many different lessons I will carry for the rest of my life, including how important it is to go outside of your comfort zone, whether it be going for a new dive or talking to new people,” Egan said.