Behind the dive


Sophomore Kirsten Parkinson has been diving for six years. courtesy of Jackson McGoldrick Photography

Sophomore Kirsten Parkinson has been diving for six years.
courtesy of Jackson McGoldrick Photography

This winter, sophomore Kirsten Parkinson and freshman Caleigh Kupersmith, are contributing  their experience and skill as the two competitors for the Convent of the Sacred Heart diving team. Their dedication to this sport, however, began long before participating on the Sacred Heart team.
Kirsten started diving when her summer coach at the Long Ridge Club in Stamford asked if she was interested in trying the sport. She saw it as an opportunity to try something new and to get to know new people.
“The friends I have made through diving have proved invaluable, and they have really kept me going after so many years,” Kirsten said.
Kirsten dives year round at the New Canaan YMCA with a team called Whirlwind Diving. The practices are coached by Mr. Joe Somma, who also coaches for Sacred Heart. She has competed at colleges and other pools all over the country for invitationals, regionals, and national meets.
Though Kirsten enjoys doing reverse dives and twisters the most, the mental aspect for all dives is sometimes challenging. It is difficult to get over the fear of trying new things and getting hurt, as well as staying focused in big competitions. But, after she pushes through the obstacles, she finds it very rewarding.
Just knowing you tried at the end of the day is the best feeling,” Kirsten said.
Kirsten is also enthusiastic about diving for Sacred Heart this winter. She loves getting to know her teammates and all of the support they give her. She has had a lot of success this season, including breaking the pool records at Canterbury and Suffield, where she received her best score with a lot of team support.
“My favorite part of the season so far was when I broke the record at Suffield,” Kirsten said. “I will never forget how awesome everyone made me feel.”
Freshman Caleigh Kupersmith, the other member of the Sacred Heart diving team, has been diving for five years. She dives year-round at the YMCA in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in the summer she dives at her club in Larchmont, New York.
One of Caleigh’s favorite dives is the front two and a half pike, which is two and a half flips forward in the pike position, on the three meter spring board. However, like Kirsten, Caleigh believes that diving is a very mental sport. Every week, a sports psychologist comes to practice and she spends an hour talking with her about the mental aspects of diving.
“Physically, diving is not that demanding,” Caleigh said. “Anyone can go on the diving board can throw a front three and a half. However, it is mentally very tough.”
Caleigh often finds it difficult to mentally prepare herself when learning a new dive. Though she has to trust a lot in herself as well as her coach, once she completes that dive, the reward is indescribable for her.
“That feeling is something that cannot be compared to anything else,” Caleigh said. “You realize that all of the hard work put into the dive was worth it.”
– Emily Hirshorn, Staff Writer