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Musselman Dives Into Regionals, State

Maria Castillo, Staff Writer

Junior Sarah Musselman hears her name called. She walks to the podium to receive her first place medal in the one meter diving competition with a score of 440.05 points, while the girl in second received 391.45 points. Musselman hears her friends and family cheer as she steps up to the first place spot on the podium.

Musselman won the one-meter spring board diving competition in the 5-A regional competition. She will advance to the State competition on February 23 and 24.

“Regionals went pretty well,” Musselman said. “There were a few mess ups here and there, but that is where I get to improve at state.”

Preparation for state continues in the same fashion as preparing for any other meet for Musselman. Her high school diving coach, Coach Jerry Smith, stays focused with her on the dives she will do at the meet. They’re strictly sticking to the one meter diving board, rather than using the three meter, because she will compete on the one meter. Musselman continues to work on her dives, repeating them over and over in order to hit perfection. She also focuses on working hard, eating right and getting plenty of sleep so she can improve on the closing season.

“For a pre meet ritual, I eat a banana, say a prayer, put on my head phones and stretch,” Musselman said.

Musselman remains ranked at sixth place right now, meaning she will go into the competition in sixth out of all the girls diving. Coach Smith believes she has a chance of moving up two places, giving her a shot at fourth, but feels the scoring remains subjective and that anything could happen. One of her competitors, Cassidy Cook, was seated first and has already been accepted to the Olympic trials. Two of her biggest competitors are also her best friends. Lauren Crown from Southlake competes in club and synchronized diving with Musselman, while Grace Kamierski from Southlake has been Musselman’s best friend since fourth grade.

“I love competing with my friends,” Musselman said. “It makes it less of a competition knowing that we will all be friends at the end of the day.”

Like every athlete, Musselman has a weakness; her height. In diving, being tall messes with the way one would dive, in general divers are small and compact people so they can flip and twist quicker and easier. It has been harder for Musselman to learn more difficult dives. Musselman does not change the dives, but learns to work with them and gets stronger in order to execute them correctly.

“She is what you would consider a larger athlete in the sport,” Coach Smith said. “Yet she hangs right there with everybody.”

Mussleman’s favorite piece of advice came from her club diving coach, Coach Jeff Bro who told her, “If you’re not getting 10’s on every dive in finals at the Olympics, then you still have room to improve.”

“It helps me stay humble and always strive for perfection,” Musselman said.

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