With Winter Nationals coming up at the University of Texas in Austin next month, we’re spotlighting Longhorn All-American and World Championships team member Maren Taylor for this month’s Perfect 10.
1) Are you excited to have winter nationals at your home pool in Austin next month?
“I’m really excited. If anything, I’m used to the boards. I can sleep in my own bed and won’t have to travel. I’ll have my friends and family here. It will just be really comfortable for me.”
2) You won your first national title at the AT&T Nationals this summer. What are your goals for winter nationals?
“My main goal is to make the World Cup team on 3-meter. Also, Deidre (Freeman) and I are going to do synchro, and I want us to have a good experience.”
3) You had an incredible comeback to make the World Championships team on the last day of trials this year. Even after you made the team, you said you didn’t think you’d be able to make up the ground you needed. What did you learn from that meet?
“Looking back on it, I was so negative. Going into finals, I thought there was no way possible I could make the team. Now, I know that you should never give up, no matter what. Sometimes everything falls into place.”
4) The World Championships can be an overwhelming experience the first time you go, and for you, it wasn’t just your first worlds, it was your first international meet, and you made the finals. What did you take away from that experience?
“Honestly, I went in with no expectations. I knew I could compete at that level and I thought I had a chance, but I just wanted to go in and do my best. I was super nervous, and now I’m like ‘why?’ Having our training camp before the meet really calmed my nerves. I didn’t really have the confidence before we left for Spain. I was much more confident after the camp.”
5) After the World Championships, you made the comment that you were “one of them” now, referring to the top divers in the world. A year ago, would you have thought that was possible?
“It’s crazy to think about it. Where I was a year ago is so different compared to where I am now. My main goal now is 2016. A year ago, I didn’t think I’d even be diving after this year. Now, I want to make the World Cup team, go to another World Championships, and just go to as many international meets as I can.”
6) Your first World Championships happened to be in Barcelona, where your coach, Matt Scoggin, competed in the 1992 Olympics. Does having a coach who was an elite athlete himself help?
“The great thing about Matt being an Olympian is his perspective. He knows what it takes mentally, not just physically. He really helps you know where your mind needs to be.”
7) What’s the hardest part about your training?
“Right now, it’s maintaining my body physically. I’m getting older and trying to learn how my body works and resting when I need to rest.”
8) In addition to competitive diving, you also like to scuba dive. How often do you go, and where is your favorite place you’ve been?
“When I was in high school, we’d go every summer. Now, I probably go every other summer. Cozumel is probably my favorite place. I’ve been there the most often, and it’s the most beautiful place.”
9) What else do you like to do in your spare time?
“I’m studying for the LSAT, and I’m really passionate about the environment. I’m involved in some recycling projects. I’m also involved in a group that grows food for people in the community who need it.”
10) What kind of law are you interested in, and where are you looking at for law school?
“I’m interested in environmental law. It’s something I’m passionate about and it’s an area feel like I can make a difference in. Right now I’m just applying to UT so I can keep diving. If I don’t get into UT, then I’ll probably defer law school until I’m done with diving.”