Swim and Dive: Staying In The Zone

In the sport of diving, competitors’ bodies are pushed to the limit, as they attempt to 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.

“With time, I have acknowledged it more,” Lucas said. “It 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 ‘Wow, I have accomplished so much this year.’”

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.

“It didn’t go as well like the WAC championships,” Lucas said. “In the WAC, I had some pressure but in Zone, there’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.”

Lucas’ diving journey is unique. She didn’t begin diving until she was 14-years-old, but because of her gymnast background, she has adapted to the sport quickly.

“I’ve only been diving for four years before college and that’s not a long time, so gymnastics helped me immensely,” Lucas said.

Despite of her instant rise to stardom in Idaho, the Mission Viejo native trains in Federal Way, because it’s the closest area to practice her platform event.

“It’s mentally challenging because you have to be able to see everything in diving,” Lucas said. “There’s different spotting and they’re different in each facility. But when we travel, it’s just hard because every time I have to adjust to my surroundings.”

Throughout the season, swim and dive compete indoors and outdoors. Lucas said some adapt to the changes quickly while others find it challenging.

“For me it’s insignificant because I learned diving outside,” Lucas said. “So I’m used to spotting. It’s hard for some people because the sky and the water are blue. When you’re spinning, sometimes they might confuse the two.”

Lucas said she and the rest of the swim and dive team have already begun preparing for next season.

“Going into next year, I should be more confident in my zone meet and especially WAC because I know I’m capable of winning on platform,” Lucas said. “It’s hard because you want to keep practicing and keep your game up. But at the same time, you’re not competing against anyone so it takes a lot of self-discipline and I have to be able to that before next season.”

Luis Torres can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @TheLTFiles


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