By: Sarah Niezgodzki
Meet Joey Vormelker, a sophomore this year who has made a splash (hopefully not a big one) into this new sport as the only diver on the Agua Fria Swim and Dive team. This is his first time ever trying this sport and I had the chance to talk to him about his experience so far this season.
From the start Joey has enjoyed diving. “One day coach asked if any of us wanted to try to dive so I volunteered and after learning my first dive I just fell in love with it,” Joey said. This spiraled into him wanting to learn more and more of the sport. Though he did say that, “if someone told me that I would be diving I wouldn’t believe them” because he did originally come out to the YMCA to join the swim team.
On that note, he did not quit swimming altogether considering he did participate in the YMCA’s summer recreational swim team. But he did say that he prefers diving over swimming now that he has engulfed himself in the sport. He splits his practices up to give him enough time to practice both, he swims for 45 minutes and then joins the dive practice for the last 45 minutes of practice.
Joey did have some help and previous experience when starting this new challenge. He said he had “a small amount of tumbling experience from mma, but the most help from other sports I have done is wrestling, because wrestling teaches you spacial awareness which is very useful while you are turning and flipping in the air.”
A really tough thing to do in diving is trying not to make a splash when you enter the water, which could get points knocked off your score. But he also said that another thing that has been difficult to get accustomed to is “getting used to the way the board moves and having my body aligned”. Another thing that is tough is that, in swimming the coaches usually ease the team into the swims, but his coach, Bill, just throws them into new dives. He also mentioned that “the hardest thing to overcome when diving is the mental block that will stop you from going off the board or stops you mid-rotation.”
His favorite dive is the 401c, which is sometimes called an inward dive. This is where you stand on the board with your back to the water, jump straight up and while you are still in the air, tuck your knees into your chest before straightening your body before you hit the water (it’s better to see it for yourself).
Joey has expressed that he sees himself continuing both swimming and diving throughout all of high school and the team hopes to see him improve and dive in more upcoming meets!