Hi Guys, Olivia here with the second in the series, ‘So You Think You Can’.
Aubrey (14) and Maia (13) have been best friends since listening to Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” together at the USA Diving Regionals in Fort Lauderdale in 2012.
Maia was adopted from Yiyang, Jiangxi (which is the town where Tess is from) and Aubrey is originally from Hangzhou in Zhejiang and has a younger sister, Alison, also from China. Both Maia and Aubrey now live in Florida.
Aubrey was 9½ when she started diving and Maia was 8. Both girls train for at least a couple of hours four to six times a week. Both girls have won many local titles and Maia placed 2nd on her three meter dive for East Nationals and Aubrey finished sixth on her one meter tower at AAU Nationals.
Diving has also enabled the girls to travel, having both been to Georgia, Iowa, Wisconsin and Maryland, plus a bunch of other States, as well as traveling all around Florida.
I was full of questions like – how deep is the pool? A. Eighteen feet. And do your ears ever pop? A. Only if you go right to the bottom after diving off the tower. It turns out that both girls prefer springboard and I don’t blame them. To be honest, diving off towers seems intimidating – even to me. (Maia admits the tower can be scary and Aubrey has broken her ankle twice and popped a membrane in her ear – yikes!) So, I asked them a little about how they got into the sport and what they like most about.
O – What are you thinking when you stand at the edge of the diving board? ‘
A – Don’t die, (jokes Aubrey). And then I think relax, you’ve got this.
M – I think about the correction my coach gave me. Plus relaxing and remembering to breath is always good!
O – Have you ever got to the edge and thought – no way?
M – Going up to seven meters was hard – I was like – no! But I soon realized it wasn’t that bad.
A – A couple of times. I once got on the board to do a back dive tuck and thought no way and it happened again on my front 2½.
O – I asked the girls what’s the hardest dive they can do and Aubrey asked if I meant physically or emotionally, which I hadn’t given much thought to. I have no idea what these mean, but they sound pretty impressive!
A – The hardest dive for me both mentally and emotionally is (105B) front 2 ½ somersault pike of a seven meter platform. Physically the most difficult dive is (522D) back, which is 1 somersault 2 ½ twists on one meter.
M – On springboard, my hardest dive is a (5235D), which is a back 1 ½ somersault 2 ½ twist free on 3 meters. On tower: It’s a (405C); inward 2 ½ tuck on 7 meter high.
O – What is the hardest thing about diving? You know, other than not hitting your head and freaking out?
M – You need to overcome the mental game. You can be physically ready for a dive, but if your brain won’t let you do it, then you won’t.
A – The hardest thing for me is making sure you have a good attitude and keep a positive outlook on everything.
O – What do you like best about diving?
A – In diving there are no limits, you can always get better. The sport is always pushing you to stretch yourself.
M – I like the exhilaration of getting a new dive.
O – Who is your favorite diver?
M – I like Patricia McCormick because she executed dives that weren’t allowed. Plus she won gold medals in two consecutive Olympics.
A – The Olympic Gold Medalist, David Boudia. He is inspirational. He took the time to talk to me about his diving experience and even showed me how he used to draw out his dives to overcome his fears. I also like Steven LoBue because he is small like me!
O – what is your advice to children thinking of taking up diving?
A – I would tell them, don’t let anything stop you. Sometimes you will feel frustrated with the process or have a smack – get up and try again. I have made friends all around the country that I would have not met outside this sport. I have been blessed to have amazing mentors who have become role models. I feel like this diving community is small and even though we don’t see each other at school we still are connected and support and encourage each other. Diving has taught me a lot about myself. It has given me courage to overcome my fears. It has also taught me life skills like the confidence to try new things, be in front of a crowd, to set goals, to be social, to work hard and to prioritize my time in order to accomplish my dreams.
M – Diving is a fun sport that you will enjoy and you can make great friends from all over that you may not have met otherwise. It teaches you a lot about yourself and being able to put in the hard work to achieve your goals – big or small. You have to be fearless or learn to overcome your fear in order to achieve your goals. Additionally, you have to love twisting and flipping.There is also the opportunity to participate at the High School level in addition to AAU and/or USA Diving competitions.
O – It is so fun to find a sport that you both love and excel at. When I asked the girls where they see themselves in five years they both said they want to train for the Olympic Trials and hope to participate in USA Diving Synchro Nationals. Both girls intend to dive during college and Maia is hoping diving will help her receive a college scholarship. I wish them both well – good luck, girls!