Jumping in the Deep End: Q&A with Sophomore Diver Riley Wadehra

Interview by BEN HALL

Riley Wadehra is a sophomore diver on the CC Women’s Swim and Dive team. Riley has already qualified for the NCAA Division III Regional competition in March, and has helped the team to a 5-2 start this season. The team competes at home at the Schlessman Natatorium on tonight at 5 p.m. against Western State.

Ben Hall: How did you get into diving?

Riley Wadehra: I did gymnastics since I was three… When I was 11, I was in a summer club, and we were on swim team and I hated swimming. I didn’t want to continue swimming, but my mom said I should try diving, “See if you like it, stick it out for a year.” So I joined the dive team and I absolutely loved it. It translated really easily because of gymnastics.

BH:  Is there a particular animal that you like to think you emulate when you dive?

RW: I want to be a graceful animal because I try to dive gracefully. I definitely like my style of diving… I think I could be like a dolphin. It’s a water animal, they still have fun, and they’re really pretty. They have that power to them, but that’s not the first thing you notice.

BH: How do you train for diving outside of the pool?

RW: We have a dry-board, where you bounce on the board but instead of going into the water you go onto a giant mat. Then we have rig, which you get strapped into this belt and it goes through ropes that are attached to a thing on the ceiling, and you get pulled in it and can learn new dives in the rig. I did that today, so you can learn new dives before going into the water without a lot of risk.

BH: What’s your major?

RW: I’m undeclared, but I think I’m doing environmental science.

BH: Do you find that there are similar qualities that you need both in studying EV and competing in diving?

RW: Probably focus and patience… My second block, I was doing research with Miro. He does tree line research on Pikes Peak, and we were helping him do that. We were measuring ages of trees, heights of trees, and damage in one area of interest, and then we’d go to the GIS lab and analyze images, plot where all the seedlings and saplings were, make polygons around the trees, and then we wrote a big research paper about temperature in that section… But especially doing research in ecology, you’re just sitting around for so long doing the same thing over and over and over, and that translates exactly to diving.

BH: Have you ever had a dive in competition that really didn’t go according to plan?

RW: Not in competition, but when I was learning reverse 1.5 tuck on three-meter—which is when you jump forwards but flip backwards—I really wanted to kick out as soon as possible because I was really scared and didn’t want to be in the dive anymore… So I did it the first time, and it was fine. I did it a second time and didn’t listen to my coach at all; I kicked out after one flip, completely straight, and fell two meters onto my back. It was horrible, and my coach made me get back onto the board, so I was like “I can’t do that again,” and I held on for way too long, and landed flat on my stomach right after.

BH: Ouch. Do you do any platform diving as well as the springboards?

RW: Division III only does springboard, so we do one- and three-meter springboard… I’ve never dove platform before, but I did one-meter springboard in high school.

BH: So is three-meter new for you?

RW: Yes, it was new for me last year. I learned 14 new dives last year. Eleven of them were on three-meter because I had to learn a full list.

BH: Do you have any hobbies outside of the pool?

RW: I’m a really big reader. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a hobby, but I try and read for fun as much as I can. Currently, I’m reading “Artemis” by Andy Weir.

BH: How long are you in the air during a dive?

RW: Maybe two or three seconds, depending on if it’s one-or three-meter, but it’s really fast.

BH: When I jump, there’s nothing in my head. I’m pretty much blank when I’m in the air. Does that happen to you, or are you thinking while you’re in the air?

RW: I personally probably think too much for diving. A lot of times what I’ll do is, before I hurdle or start my dive, I’ll pick two things to focus on. A lot of times it’s knee up in your hurdle, and stretch, and I run that through my mind over and over again, and once I get off the board, it all happens so fast.

BH: Friday you guys are competing at home at the Schlessman Natatorium. What moves are you gonna bust out?

RW: Well, I’m hoping to do inward 2.5 on three-meter, where you jump backwards and do 2.5 front flips off the board. I haven’t put that one in my list in a while, and we’ll see how practice goes this week. If it goes well, that’s the big dive I’m going for. 

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