Diver Ava Johnson Breaking Records this Season

Great divers make very few waves when they break the surface of the water, but Hill-Murray senior Ava Johnson is sure making a name for herself in the Pioneer record-books.

Johnson shattered her own school diving records recently in both the 6 and 11 dive lists.

“I love diving because there is no limit to how much you can challenge yourself and improve,” said Johnson. “I was a gymnast when I was younger, so when a friend’s mom said they needed divers at my previous school, I went to watch a practice. After one practice, I said, sure, I’ll give it a try.”

Johnson first broke the school records in both the 6 and 11 dive lists her sophomore year and Hill-Murray Swim and Dive Coach CeCe Lewis says she’s only improved since.

“Ava has had an extraordinary season so far and we can’t wait to see where she goes from here,” Lewis said. “She’s one of the most humble, consistent, and talented athletes we have had in the program.”

On a six-dive list, at least one dive must come from each of the diving categories: forward, back, reverse, inward and twisting. The sixth dive may come from the category of the diver’s choice, but it cannot be a previously used dive. The 11 dive list consists of two dives from each category, one voluntary (which tend to have a lesser degree of difficulty) and one optional (which tend to have a higher degree of difficulty), plus one more optional, or higher degree of difficulty, dive that can be from any category.

Coach Lewis says diving is challenging physically in terms of having the ability to use the board to gain the needed momentum to flip and twist in the air. But the sport is even more challenging mentally with regards to timing the jump and having the mental stamina to perform so many dives in a row. If a diver has a bad jump or flip or entry, they must find a way to push through the disappointment to finish the rest of their dives on their list.

“Ava has proven time and time again that she can perform no matter what happens on the board,” Coach Lewis said. “She is an exceptional athlete and an even more exceptional leader. She’s a wonderful role model for the younger athletes and is always cheering on her teammates.”