Anna Nyland-Baker | Director of Client Services | Chase Perfection

It was me, the diving board, and the water. That is all that was left between grabbing the gold medal and being a conference champion.

Throughout my years in college, I was a division three collegiate diver for UW-Stevens Point. Diving is a very individual sport, but you still need the support of your team members on the entire swim and dive team. This conference was the biggest meet of the season. After the countless hours spent in the pool practicing, it all came down to one weekend where we put everything together.

It was the third conference meet of my college career. The swimmers and divers work as one unit. With each race and each dive, our unit was chiseling to get an extra point to be conference champs. I always tried my best to ignore the scoreboard so the points wouldn’t get in my head and make me even more nervous about what was to come. Little did I know that my individual opportunity to be a conference champion was riding on this last dive…by single digits, the scores were so close.

It was a full-twisting, one and a half summersaults on a 3M springboard. I remember walking up the stairs reminding myself to breathe, singing the mantra from the mighty Vince Lombardi: “Confidence is contagious, but so is lack of confidence”. I remember telling myself, “This is it. Dive 11. The last day of the season. I had to leave it all in the diving well.” I had a dang near perfect practice dive and was ready to attack and make this dive one I would remember forever.

Walking down the board, I took my 3 steps and approached. I suddenly realized I was leaning (if I was in practice I would have started over) but I did my very best to hold the twist tight, searched for the water, and performed the dive even though the approach was far from par. Boom! The water came and I remember not wanting to come up in fear of knowing what happened and how the judges were going to score. Was I going to have tears of defeat or tears of joy? Eventually, I came up, looked at my friend who had turned to our coach, and her lips read, “YOU DID IT!”

The scoring for swimming and diving is strange, so not only was I able to take the gold medal individually, but I also was able to help the full swimming and diving team. The additional points that I was able to add gave us the Women’s Swimming and Diving conference champs. At that moment, all of our hard work came to fruition. It truly was incredible!

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