They come from different states all over the country. However, this year’s Junior Worlds team recently had the opportunity to come together prior to representing America and competing against the best in the world. With the 2012 FINA World Junior Diving Championships officially kicking off this coming Monday, October 8 in Adelaide, Australia, the 18 team members spent this past week in at a pre-camp in Lightning Ridge, training, bonding as a team and exploring the land down under (holding baby kangaroos seemed to be a highlight for everyone).
“At first it was shocking to know that I’m going to complete in Australia, along with two other (club) teammates!” said first-time Junior Worlds team member Esztee Pryor (Columbus, OH). The 15-year-old will be competing in four events, the most of any diver on the team. “It didn’t seem real, but now I feel like it will be such an eye opening experience that I can learn a lot from.”
This year’s team is a great mixture of both members of the 2010 FINA Junior Worlds team as well as divers who are preparing to compete in their first ever international competition.
“I’m a little bit nervous since I’ve never been to an international meet, but I feel like I will learn and take everything in from this meet and use it to my benefits,” said Camryn Hidalgo (Mission Viejo, CA). The 13-year-old will compete in the Girls Group B 1-meter competition. “Although I’m nervous I also am very excited to see my competition and dive in such a big meet.”
Camryn as well as the others who are about to compete in their first international meet are in good hands. Not only do they have a talented coaching staff but they also have many experienced teammates to lean on for support.
Elected by their teammates, co-captains Gracia Leydon Mahoney (Durham, NC) and Bryce Klein (Southlake, TX) both have impressive individual resumes. Klein is a 2010 junior world silver medalist on 1-meter and Leydon-Mahoney is this year’s senior national champion on 3-meter. But while it is very easy to get caught up with individual accomplishments in this sport, both these veterans seem to realize the importance of unity.
“Something that was so special about this year’s Olympic team was how well they all came together as a team to achieve their goals,” said 17-year-old Klein. “I think that is a very good example for all international squads in the future. I think the U.S. made quite the statement at the games and that the Junior World team can continue that momentum.”
The team also includes Samantha Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio), a 2010 junior world bronze medalist on platform, and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass.), a 2010 junior world silver medalist in synchronized 3-meter. 18-year-old Jessica Parratto (Indianapolis, IN) and 16-year-old Steele Johnson (Carmel, IN) also add some depth with their recent senior national championship wins on platform.
“My goal for this meet is to give 100% effort on every dive and hopefully come away with a medal,” said Johnson, who came up short of medaling in 2010 after finishing fourth on platform.
As for the pressure to build upon the London team’s accomplishments in what will be the first international competition to follow this year’s Olympic Games, the team seems to have a pretty positive outlook.
“I feel after returning from London with four Olympic medals, it shows that we can be great, not just in the U.S., but on the international stage as well,” said 15-year-old David Dinsmore (New Albany, OH). “I’m ready for the U.S. to have a great meet in Australia and have a fun time while we are out there.”
Make sure to check out our Twitter (@USAdiving) and Facebook (Facebook.com/usadiving) pages for updates on the team’s adventures!
Also don’t forget to visit the team’s official website page as well as the 2012 FINA World Junior Diving Championships website for a schedule of events as well as live scoring.
Go Team USA!