By EMILY BARY ’15
Co-Editor in Chief
This semester, Maddie Stern ’17 is the only diver on Wellesley’s swimming and diving squad, but she says she’s never felt more like part of a team. Her high school swimming and diving squad didn’t feel like a cohesive group, but Wellesley has offered her a chance to enjoy a team atmosphere as well as receive one-on-one instruction from the Blue’s diving coach.
All of this seems to be paying off. Stern has had an impressive start to her rookie season, finishing second in both diving events at the Seven Sisters meet last month to help Wellesley secure its 17th straight team title. She sat down with me to talk more about her training and goals for the season. Excerpts of the conversation follow.
Emily Bary (E.B.): How long have you been diving? Why did you decide to start?
Maddie Stern (M.S.): I’ve been diving for almost seven years. My club coach was a P.E. teacher for the diving unit and told me I should try it. I had a background in gymnastics which helped.
E.B.: Why did you choose to dive at Wellesley?
M.S.: I wanted to dive in college because I like being a part of an athletic community. I chose Wellesley because it had a cohesive swimming and diving team. A lot of teams aren’t tightly knit.
E.B.: What’s it like doing an individual sport in a team setting?
M.S.: I definitely focus a lot on the team part. Even in club diving, I did better in a team setting. I like to keep it light in between dives so I chat with other divers and with my team.
E.B.: What’s a typical practice like for you?
M.S.: It’s two hours. I usually warm up by jumping rope and stretching. I do work on the trampolines and we have ropes and belts so that the coaches can pull you and help you work on technique off the boards. I spend about an hour and a half actually diving. I sometimes start working on technique but then do competition dives. I practice at the same time as the swimmers once or twice a week.
E.B.: What has been your best Wellesley athletic moment?
M.S.: Winning the Seven Sisters meet. We got to throw the coaches in the water and eventually everyone was in the pool. I got thrown in with my clothes on. Seven Sisters was really fun in general because we had a banquet and got the chance to talk with girls from the other teams.
E.B.: What are your goals for the season?
M.S.: To qualify for regionals. We only have the NEWMAC [New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference] meet left and there you do 11 dives instead of six, so it’s a little easier to qualify. Hopefully I’ll get my best scores of the season.
E.B.: What’s the hardest part about diving?
M.S.: It’s a really mental sport. It’s also a very scary sport. You have to not get caught thinking too hard and train your brain to do the dives.
E.B.: What has the transition from high school diving to college diving been like for you?
M.S.: It’s a lot more hours. Also, in high school the swim team and dive team didn’t really interact. Here I’m a lot more invested in the overall aspect of the team and not just what happens in diving.
E.B.: Thanks, Maddie.
Stern and the swimming and diving squad next compete in the NEWMAC championship meet beginning on Friday, Feb. 21.