Lynbrook swimmers explore new potential in diving


Chelsea Lee

Nine new divers have joined the Lynbrook diving team this year, creating a lively and supportive environment to explore their potentials

Chelsea Lee, Design Editor

In the past few years, Lynbrook’s diving team has consistently been composed of five divers or fewer. In the 2021-22 season, Lynbrook only had two: Claire Chen, current senior and team captain, and Jodi Au, Class of 2022 alum. However, the size of the team grew to a total of 10 total divers this year.

Sharing some similarities with gymnastics, diving is the competitive sport of doing flips into the water. Because there were so few members in past seasons, Lynbrook’s team trained at Monta Vista High School with the Monta Vista team and the same coach prior to the 2021-22 season. Since Lynbrook students did not see divers training at Lynbrook, diving was a lesser-known sport around campus. However, this season, Lynbrook swimmers became more aware of diving as an available opportunity after new diving equipment was purchased by the Lynbrook Excellence fundraising charity: two diving boards and a hot tub to stay warm between dives.

Chen played a major role in building up the team by encouraging swimmers whom she knew to explore their diving potential. Since then, nine new divers have been training with coach Hayley Chamblin, who joined the team during the last season as Lynbrook’s own diving coach separate from Monta Vista.

“I’m really impressed with the team,” Chen said. “We’re doing well and people are picking up dives quickly. They’re looking solid even after just two weeks of practice.”

People with a background in dance or gymnastics are set with the foundational skills of diving, such as being familiar with balance, pikes and tucks. For junior Esha Rai, many of the techniques she learned from gymnastics carried over to diving.

“My background in gymnastics provided me with skills that are equally important to both gymnastics and diving,” Rai said. “Many dives therefore came easily to me — almost like muscle memory — which made me feel more confident as a new diver.”

Overcoming the fear of committing to a dive while flipping off the board is just as important as technique for new divers. Although diving’s largest obstacles are mental, the team’s lively encouragement helps them surmount these challenges.

“When I still could not do a front flip off of the diving board after three days of practice, my team made me go back to the pool to try it again, cheering me on and singing and clapping,” junior Kyrsten Su said. “They are the best, most supportive group of people ever. Even though I totally sucked at doing it, they cheered when I finally got off the board.”

As the team captain and only experienced teammate, returning for her fourth season on the team, Chen’s demonstrations of technique and mindset are a great lesson for new divers.

“She has the competence to try really hard dives, which makes us feel inclined to push ourselves as well,” senior Joseph Zou said.

While most of the divers have already gotten to know each other as teammates on Lynbrook’s swim team, the divers’ team dynamics have grown even stronger since joining the diving team. They build memories together when listening to music while in the hot tub and getting sushi dinners, boba or frozen yogurt together after practices. Chamblin has also organized a hand-eye coordination game for the divers in which they attempt to catch marshmallows mid-jump into the pool — a difficult task that sparks laughter all around. The team documents these fun-loving moments on their team Instagram profile, @lynbrookdiving.

“Everyone is really friendly with each other, and we have a group chat that’s really active, which is nice because in such a big group like swimming, we didn’t have so much of a community,” Su said.

After less than five weeks of practice, the team competed in their first meet against Cupertino High School on March 2. The Vikings won with Chen in first place for girls and sophomore Tanay Ubale in first for boys.

“I’m very proud of their positivity and effort in just going for it,” Chamblin said. “With dive technique in general, there’s a lot to master, but this first meet was a good learning experience for them and it looked like they had fun.”