My First Love: Diving

Those of you who know me well know that I haven’t had the easiest time as far a injuries and illnesses in my past few years at Auburn. It is actually a wonder that I have made it through my senior year (diving-wise) and I thank God that I did, but He had other plans in store for the end of my career. I believe that everything happens for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that when I hurt my knee at SECs I wasn’t disappointed. I knew that it could possibly mean cutting my career a few weeks short, and as my coach and I both agreed upon, there was no reason to go to the Zone meet (which is a qualification for NCAAs), injured and not diving anywhere close to my best. Although it wasn’t pretty, I finished SECs and was able to score a couple points for the team, and today, my coach and I officially made the decision not to participate in Zones.
Things don’t always end the way we expect them to, but recently, I’ve learned that it’s more about the process than it ever has been about the ending. Throughout my diving career, I have had the privilege to travel the world, meet some of the best friends I will ever have, and push myself to do things I never thought I could mentally or physically do. In my career I’ve been to China, England, and Canada, as well as all over the United States at the national level. I dove for my high school and then had the blessing of competing for the university of my dreams, where I have grown so much as a person and found my calling as a nurse. I’ve competed in the NCAA championships, made SEC finals, and won a few dual meets… and these are the times I will remember, because I did all of them for the betterment of my team. I can’t explain how amazing it has been to be a part of this team, but luckily I know that that’s not going to end just because my four years are coming to a close.
More than anything, diving has given me a lifelong passion. From the first time I stepped on a diving board at my first summer league practice when I was 7 years old, I was hooked. There have been many, many hardships along the way and more often than I would like to admit, I questioned why I was putting myself through this. I had numerous coaching changes and for years, had to drive an hour each way to practice. I was often alone at meets, finding others to coach me, and we struggled for practice time. In college, I have often been pushed to my mental and physical breaking point and have dealt with injury and illness after injury and illness. But it was always worth it when I got to share a win with my teammates or finally get the satisfaction of nailing that dive that I’d been working on for years. However, this year, I’ve learned that it’s not really about the diving or hitting my dives perfectly. It’s about the person that it’s molded me into and what I’ve been able to contribute to my team, on and off the pool deck. I am a harder working, more dedicated, resilient, and appreciative individual because of this sport and for that, I am forever grateful.
With that being said,I don’t consider this a “goodbye” to the sport but rather a transition. Even though I am no longer competing, this sport is a part of who I am and will stay with me for the rest of my life. I will miss it greatly, but I know that the lessons I have learned, the athlete I’ve become, and the friends I have made aren’t going anywhere. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Auburn at NCAAs and in future years and am excited to enjoy this beautiful sport from the “other side”!