Madison Brinkman preparing for a dive. Photo credit: Isabella Kraft
With sports finally being back in action, the Huskies women’s swimming and diving team is making a splash. Fresh off their second place finish at the NSIC conference championships, there is one more meet in their season, with five women divers qualifying for nationals.
Divers Annaliesa Anderson, Madison Brinkman, Alyssa Doherty, Taylor Terfehr and Meredith Matchinsky all qualified on the one meter and three meter boards. To qualify for nationals, divers must hit qualifying scores on either board which can happen with either six or 11 dives.
“It’s so cool and it’s way cooler because I am so proud of the program I come from,” Matchinsky said. “And to go with a bunch of girls makes it like 10 times better.”
Diving head coach Kayla Deters decided to start coaching after she completed her collegiate diving career at University of Wisconsin- Green Bay. Her first coaching job started at Rocori High School, where she coached for three years and then moved to SCSU.
“I didn’t necessarily feel fulfilled with my college career, I didn’t want to be done with the sport yet,” Deters said. “I love working with college students, with the elite athletes.”
Many divers get into the sport through gymnastics, which is how Matchinsky and Brinkman were both introduced to diving. Brinkman started diving after she started doing her gymnastics routines on the diving board during free time in gym class. Where she caught the attention of swim team members who encouraged her to give the sport a try.
Matchinsky was recommended to attend a diving camp by a friend on her high school gymnastics team.
“She said there was this cool diving camp where they had trampolines,” said Matchinsky. “So, I signed up, my mom let me go, and I have just kind of fallen in love and been with it ever since.”
Divers compete on both one meter and three meter boards during meets. Even though the only visible difference is height, each board has its own set of challenges. For the three meter there is more opportunity and time for flips and twists making the difficulty higher.
For Matchinsky the biggest challenge she faces on the boards is overcoming the fear aspect, which can come with the height difference.
“I get my biggest achievement feeling from the sport when I’m scared of something and then I go for it,” Matchinsky said. “It’s a challenge, but it’s the [best] challenge ever.”
The national swim and dive meet for the Huskies takes place March 17 through the 20 in Birmingham, Alabama. The women hope to continue pushing their limits.
“Well obviously that is the ultimate goal, not only to do well through the season and at our conference championships, but then they get to compete at a whole new level and individual based at the national meet,” Deters said.
Deters believes that since the women are a close knit group off the board, they are able to help each other in competition.
“Once it is a family, then it’s unstoppable,” Deters said.