Diving in the deep

In the first year of the diving program, rookie Tarissa Adams qualifies for the 5A state competition making her the first female diver in the district to qualify.


Visual by Sarah Conner

Maize High senior Allison Dang leaps off the diving board during practice on Tuesday, April 5. Dang is a first year diver and only competes in diving events.

Isabelle Blasdel, Editor

Maize High junior Tarissa Adams began her first year diving and is now ranked fifth by KSHSAA on their “Top Twenty-Five Performance Lists” from meet results submitted as of April 4th and was the first female diver to qualify for state in the district.

Adams feels that she could not have qualified for state without her coach, Heather Richardson, and diving manager, Carter Bowles.

“It feels like my hard work has paid off,” she said.

At the age of nine, Adams started gymnastics and at the age of 15, she began cheerleading. With her experience in these sports, diving became second nature to her.

“Gymnastics and cheer have made a world of a difference,” Adams said. “I came into diving already knowing how to flip and twist, giving me an edge on most new divers.”

Before going onto the board, Adams said she always feels nerves about performing and has to calm herself down.

“I have to remind myself to stay focused and everything is okay,” Adams said.

Graphic by Nathan Wituk

Adams’s hardest struggle in diving is the chance of failing.

“The hardest challenge about diving is trying new, harder skills,” Adams said. “It is truly a mental sport.”

Meeting new people at diving meets is Adams’s favorite part about her sport.

“My favorite part of diving is meeting new people at meets and creating long-lasting friendships,” Adams said.

Adams is looking forward to her 11-dive meets and is hoping to place at state and league later this year in May.

Richardson believes Adams’s determination defines her as an athlete and a person.

“With diving, there are many times when you ‘smack’ when trying new dives,” Richardson said. “It is with Tarissa’s unflappable determination that she brushes aside the momentary pain (black eye) and does the dive again until she is satisfied with her results.”

Graphic by Nathan Wituk

At the State Championships, divers use an 11 dive list with varying difficulty levels. Richardson feels confident that Adams will live up to her high expectations at state and upcoming meets.

“I have enjoyed watching Tarissa’s belief in herself and her natural diving ability grow,” Richardson said. “I told her from the start that she could be exceptional at diving. It’s fun to see her belief in her diving starting to match my own.”

Equally important to Tarissa’s diving skills is the impact that she has had on her teammates, both from Maize and Maize South. From inviting groups to practice their skills on trampolines and cheering them on from the pool deck, Adams has become a leader in the new sport at Maize and Maize South.

“Tarissa has become a team leader, not because she is a good diver, but because she’s a good person,” Richardson said. “She’s helping the OneMaize team grow even faster in their abilities.”