It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air … or in our case, water. We asked divers to share what they love most about diving or when they knew they had fallen in love with the sport. Read their stories and be sure to comment to add your own diving love story.
Amanda Burke – National champion
I fell in love with diving when I was a kid. I never took it seriously until I got to college. Then I fell even more in love with it because it was all new to me. What I love most about it is competing, and being around people who love diving as well!
Bradley Christensen – National team member
What I love most about diving is the feeling you get when you set a dive up perfectly, especially in a meet. It’s exhilarating-until you hit the water, of course! I knew I loved the sport of diving when I started to learn bigger dives in Jeff Bro’s group. That’s when I realized how fun this sport can be! Unfortunately, it’s also when I realized how painful it can be.
Amy Cozad – 2012 World Cup team member
I love how scary diving is, but more so I love being able to overcome my fears. I’ve been diving for almost 10 years now and I am still scared every time I turn around on the edge of 10-meter to do a dive. It’s so rewarding to succeed at something that scares you.
Sam Dorman – National team member
I love the feeling of hitting the water knowing the dive was great and waiting for the reaction from the crowd. Also I love the fact that the diving community is so small that you become great friends with a lot of people across the U.S.
Carrie Dragland – World University Games bronze medalist
My first day of diving practice ever was at my high school diving tryouts. I LOVED the water and flipping so to have both together, I couldn’t get enough. That entire week I came home raving about the new tricks I had done that day. One of my first big accomplishments was “Today I went in WITHOUT plugging my nose!”
Anna James – National champion
The thing I love most about diving is the challenge. I am always working towards something and I am never bored. I knew I had fallen in love with diving the very first day I tried it!
Steele Johnson – National champion and four-time Junior Pan Am gold medalist
The feeling of flying through the air is different. It’s not something you can get from basketball or football or even gymnastics. I realized I loved diving when I would go to my neighbor’s pool all the time and just flip off the board. I wouldn’t play with my friends – I would just go off the diving board. It was fun.
Abby Johnston – 2012 Olympic silver medalist
I love always trying to perfect a dive. I love the relentless pursuit of perfection. Every dive is different. I realized I loved diving the first time I got in the water belts. I think I was 13 and it was so much fun. I loved being able to do the harder dives I wanted to learn.
Tori Lamp – National team member
What I love most about diving is the thrill and excitement I get when going off the 10-meter platform. There is really nothing else like it. I first truly fell in love with diving in 2007 when I ended my gymnastics career and began to solely focus on diving. I was able to practice more hours and learn new dives at a quicker pace to compete at a higher level of competition.
Christo Law – 2012 junior world team member
What I love most about diving is the risk taking and the exhilarating feeling of trying new things. Being a daredevil, I try to find new ways to push my body to its limits and do skills that have never been done before.
Jack Nyquist – 2012 junior world team member
The thing I like most about diving is that when you’re at practice you are in a whole other world where you’re not worried about school, family, friends, etc. Your mind is focused and gets a rest from the stress. I fell in love with the sport after my first Junior Nationals in 2007. I’d never seen amazing divers and I couldn’t help but film all the older kids.
Jessica Parratto – National champion and Junior Pan American champion
I’ve always loved the thrill of the sport and having to push past my fears every day. It can definitely be challenging, but when you overcome something difficult, it’s a great feeling. I fell in love with diving when I was 6 years old watching the 2000 Sydney Olympics on TV. I remember watching Laura Wilkinson win gold on the 10-meter platform and from then on I always wanted to dive tower!
Toby Stanley – National team member
The thing I love most about diving is the fear factor. There is nothing I love more than getting up there and doing something so hard and scary that only a small percentage, if anyone, in this world can do. I loved the sport right away. Gymnastics was getting boring and diving took it to a whole new level. But I have to say I fell in love with the sport when I discovered 10-meter. I am an adrenaline junkie and when I found out I could dive 10-meter and be learning new risky dives up there every time I stepped on that tower, I truly fell in love with the sport and still can’t get enough of it.
Madi Witt – 2012 junior world team member
I started diving lessons when I was about 9 years old. I have to admit that I really wasn’t in love with the sport at that time because it was scary to me, but something inside me had me continue. I fell in love with diving when I started to take it seriously. What I love the most about diving is it makes me an individual, meaning that I am the one responsible for my practicing, if I get better, and the attitude that I need to have to grow as a competitor. I also love the fact that it isn’t a common sport and people are always so interested when I tell them I’m a diver. What I love the most about diving is when I overcome something that I didn’t want to do. It is a great feeling to know that I can push beyond my fears and end up doing dives that I never thought I could do. Plus I love the travel and all the different people I get to meet.
Brittany Viola – 2012 Olympian
The first time I really knew I loved diving was when my former teammate Emily Bouck brought me up to 10-meter and we jumped together. The nerves, the fear, the anxiety … I felt all of that, but I loved it. The moment I decided to jump and overcome all those things was incredible. That’s what’s kept me in the sport over time, knowing that you can overcome obstacles.