Daryn Wright

One telephone poll. Three full-grown alligators. Five queen-size mattresses. Eleven baseball bats.

All of these items are 10 meters long – the same height that senior Daryn Wright jumps off of when she is doing a dive.

“I feel excited, scared, nervous … just a huge range of emotions going through my head. I trust myself with what I am doing because of all my training, but it is still scary throwing myself off 10 meters,” said Wright.

Diving as an actual competitive sport has been around since only the early 19th century, and Wright has been practicing this centuries old sport since she was in elementary school. 

“I got into diving because I was getting tired of gymnastics and saw divers at the end of the swimming well from my sister's swim practice,” said Wright. “My mom decided to put me in diving and I've never left.” 

Practicing the same sport day after day, week after week, can be difficult not just on the body, but the mind as well. Preparing one’s mind can be just as important as preparing one's body, especially in competitive sports like diving.

“My biggest challenge has been overcoming times when I have been burnt out and wanted to quit,” said Wright. “There have been many times because of how hard we train, but communication with my coach and family has really helped me stay in love with the sport.” 

Finding the right people for support is an important part of succeeding in any sport. Wright was lucky enough to find someone she trusts very early in her diving career.

“My relationship with my coach is very special because I have been diving with him since I was nine years old,” said Wright. “With all that time, we have been able to form a lot of trust within one another and create a bond that is very special to me. I would consider him to be like my second dad.”

Wright’s coach isn’t the only one cheering her on from the side lines. Her family has been a wellspring of support for her diving ambitions.

“They are extremely supportive of everything I do, and have always been there for me,” said Wright, “from driving me downtown for practice five days a week until I got my license to being my #1 fans.”

The love and support Wright has received from those around is a gift that not everyone gets to experience. And she puts it to good use by working hard every day to get closer to her goals.

“Some of my short-term goals would be to get prepared for college diving, prepare for Worlds (competition) in May and get more consistent with my dives,” said Wright. “My long-term goals are to go to Big Tens, final in an NCAA event and in the long run, qualify for the Olympics.”

Not everyone is able to find something they truly love to do, and even fewer people are able to stick with it for as long as Wright has. Jump after jump, diving has not only helped to improve Wright’s physical health, but her life as a whole.

“Being a diver has shaped who I am because of how it's sort of raised me,” said Wright. “I have been in this sport since I was nine, and through all the training and the people I have met, they have been able to shape me into who I am today.”