A shrill whistle reverberates through the Alfred Loos Natatorium. Four divers spring from their boards and somersault into their respective lanes.
This year, the Hockaday diving team, consisting of double the amount of divers than last year, practice and condition during the week in anticipation of their SPC meet on Feb. 11 in Houston. Juniors Bailey Hollingsworth and Maria Zhang, sophomore Charlsie Doan and freshman Arushi Mukherjee all make up the team.
Diving captain Bailey Hollingsworth has three years of experience diving for Hockaday.
“I have made so much progress throughout my years on the diving team,” Hollingsworth said. “I hope that even after I graduate the program will continue to grow.”
This is exactly the goal of the program: helping divers grow as individuals and as athletes. According to diving coach Michele Pappas, the most important takeaway from participating in a sport is the character development an athlete undergoes.
“I have been coaching diving for a while and one of my favorite parts is watching a diver successfully overcome an obstacle,” Pappas said. “The highs and lows of the sport are what make you a better person at the end of the day.”
Hollingsworth believes that she owes her evolution and growth in the sport to both her swimming and diving coaches. Although swimming and diving compete separately at SPC, they often practice and condition together. But according to Hollingsworth, the relationship between the swimming and diving teams needs to be stronger.
“Since the two teams practice at different locations under different coaches, the teams remain relatively separate. However, this year, as Hockaday Diving Captain, I will work to keep both teams notified about each other’s meets so both portions of the team are able to have support at their competitions,” Hollingsworth said.
Junior Maria Zhang shares a similar view.
“I think it would be a lot better if swimming and diving bonded more so that way we could have a bigger team and be stronger at SPC,” Zhang said.
Zhang is right in her assessment that a bigger team is more beneficial for SPC.
“As far as SPC goes, the points from swimming and diving are combined when calculating Hockaday’s score. Because of this, it’s really important that we encourage each other to perform our best on competition day,” Hollingsworth said.
The diving team continues to strive for a high SPC placement. The coaches and athletes work together to achieve this goal.
“I really want to see my divers be as successful as they can possibly be,” Pappas said.
– Neha Dronamraju – Assistant A&E Editor