This year, for the first time, Deerfield diving has a junior varsity team consisting of only three students who have been practicing with the varsity team, but participating in their own meets. While it is a small group, those on the junior varsity diving team have found it both fun and beneficial.
“Being on the junior varsity diving team is pretty awesome,” said Annie Klink ’13. “I’m learning new dives and having a lot of fun. It’s a great opportunity to learn without the pressure of being on a varsity team.” Klink, whose favorite dive is a back-flip-straight position, is new to the sport. “I have been swimming on a summer club team since I was little, but this is my first time diving. I started because it was something new that I had always wanted to try.”
Michael Walters ’14 is also new to diving, but not to the pool. “I’ve only been diving for the past few weeks, but I’ve swimming since I was two,” he explained. Walters is enjoying diving and finds it a great way to stay in shape: “I dive because it’s fresh and keeps the abs on point.”
Tess Donovan ’14 is a returning diver. “This is my second year diving. Since I was a gymnast, it is easy to transition between the two sports.” said Donovan, adding, “It’s nice being on junior varsity diving because it is not as competitive or stressful as varsity but I still get to dive.”
All three junior varsity divers feel very fortunate to be working with Coach Mary Ellen Clark, the varsity diving coach and an Olympic medalist. “She is amazing,” said Klink. “She taught me how to do five dives in about two days! We’re so lucky to get to work with her.”
Coed practices with the junior varsity and varsity teams have created a tight knit group of divers. Captains Taylor Clough ’13 and Danielle DeNunzio ’12 are excited about the introduction of the sub-varsity team.
“Overall, the program has expanded and we look forward to having more depth next year, since three of the six varsity divers are graduating,” said DeNunzio. She, Kellam Witherington ’12, and Marina Vranos ’12, all key divers whose points contribute to the many victories of the Deerfield Swimming & Diving team, will leave a void in the diving hot tub next year.
Clough added, “The junior varsity divers’ improvement has been unbelievable and we look forward to seeing them progress throughout the rest of the season.”