In the sport of diving, competitorsâ€™ bodies are pushed to the limit, as they attempt toÂ time their dive correctly and earn a high score.
For Idaho freshman Janelle Lucas, she has accepted the challenge and earned several accolades as a diving performer.
Lucas won the Western Athletic Conference title in the 10-meter platform with a score of 278.20. Lucas earned her collegiate career-best score of 284.20 in the preliminary rounds to qualify in platform finals.
Lucas said she has soaked up her success after winning the event in February.
â€œWith time, I have acknowledged it more,â€ Lucas said. â€œIt was a bit hazy at first because it felt like a dream. But once my season ended, I kind of reflected back and I was like â€˜Wow, I have accomplished so much this year.â€™â€
Not only did she win platform, but the freshman also qualified for the Zone Diving Championship in Flagstaff for the 3-meter springboard.
Lucas made it to the finals and finished 18th after a 13th place finish in the first round.
â€œIt didnâ€™t go as well like the WAC championships,â€ Lucas said. â€œIn the WAC, I had some pressure but in Zone, thereâ€™s a lot more pressure because I was competing with girls from USC and Stanford. Those people knew what they were doing, so it was intimidating for me and I had to adjust to that.â€
Lucasâ€™ diving journey is unique. She didnâ€™t begin diving until she was 14-years-old, but because of her gymnast background, she has adapted to the sport quickly.
â€œIâ€™ve only been diving for four years before college and thatâ€™s not a long time, so gymnastics helped me immensely,â€ Lucas said.
Despite of her instant rise to stardom in Idaho, the Mission Viejo native trains in Federal Way, because itâ€™s the closest area to practice her platform event.
â€œItâ€™s mentally challenging because you have to be able to see everything in diving,â€ Lucas said. â€œThereâ€™s different spotting and theyâ€™re different in each facility. But when we travel, itâ€™s just hard because every time I have to adjust to my surroundings.â€
Throughout the season, swim and dive compete indoors and outdoors. Lucas said some adapt to the changes quickly while others find it challenging.
â€œFor me itâ€™s insignificant because I learned diving outside,â€ Lucas said. â€œSo Iâ€™m used to spotting. Itâ€™s hard for some people because the sky and the water are blue. When youâ€™re spinning, sometimes they might confuse the two.â€
Lucas said she and the rest of the swim and dive team have already begun preparing for next season.
â€œGoing into next year, I should be more confident in my zone meet and especially WAC because I know Iâ€™m capable of winning on platform,â€ Lucas said. â€œItâ€™s hard because you want to keep practicing and keep your game up. But at the same time, youâ€™re not competing against anyone so it takes a lot of self-discipline and I have to be able to that before next season.â€
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheLTFiles