Diving and Thriving

Two new divers, two new State qualifiers.

Junior Riley Smith and freshman Jon Brouillette both entered their first year of diving this season; and both are currently preparing to go to State.

“I went in thinking that I was going to try it and be super bad and absolutely hate it,” said Smith. She said she never expected to end up where she is now. “I really had to work my butt off everyday and practice, and really make sure that I was doing the best that I could,” she said.

Brouillette said the thing he was most initially afraid of was going head first into the water. “I’m usually just riding on the fact that after I do the dive and come up, [Coach Brian Jahnke] will be screaming and just be ecstatic,” he said. Smith agrees. “[Going head first] basically goes against every principle of being a tumbler/gymnast so it was terrifying, but once I got over it it wasn’t really a big deal,” she said.

However, they both have their superstitions. “Every night before my meet, I always fold up my shammy as nice as I can,” said Brouillette, “Then I only do well if my mom leaves me a good luck note and candy in my bag.” Smith feels like she has more of a good luck charm. “I have these socks, and I wore them to district golf all three years and made it to State, and one time I brought them to a dive meet and it was the first time I qualified, so they must be my good luck socks,” she said.

Quincey Epley
Junior Riley Smith placed third at the GNAC diving competition in Kearney on Feb. 9.

Although they’re both State qualifiers, they have had their share of bad dives. “I think the worst part about coming up after a bad dive is because then you have to hear the scores and everyone’s like pity-clapping for you,” said Smith. However, for every bad dive there are good dives. “When you dive well, you can just feel it. If you do it really well, when you go in; it’s not harsh at all it’s smooth, and then I always have a weird little smile when I come up,” said Brouillette.

They both feel as though diving is an individual sport rather than a team sport. “I think it’s more encouraging than other sports, but I wouldn’t call it a team sport since you are competing individually,” said Smith. Brouillette shared her opinion. He said, “It’s really supportive, but on the board, it’s just you.”

Quincey Epley
Senior Miles Sweeney, junior Riley Smith, and freshman Jon Brouillette show off their GNAC medals in Kearney on Feb. 9. All three divers will compete next at the State diving competition on Feb. 22 in Lincoln.