Jack Christensen holds Olympic dream

Haley Gilmore

     Seven a.m. practice wakes up diver Jack Christensen (12) every summer morning. Jack started diving just six years ago, and he was a natural. His coaches told him that he picked the sport up faster than a normal person would. Not many people make it to the state championships during their first year of diving, but Jack came in third, and, this past year he placed second.

     The first dive he completed was a front dive tuck, but his best dive is an inward one and a half tuck, and his hardest dive is either a front triple or a two and a half full twist.

     Jack’s cousins, Hunter Christensen (class of 2012) and Evan Christensen (11), got him into diving. In fact, Hunter was one of Jack’s biggest competitors. They always took first and second place in almost every competition and the scores were normally five points within each other. The scores always broke 200 points.

     To perfect his skills, Jack practiced on the trampoline and did other gymnastic activities. Divers mostly focus on their form, technique, and entries into the water. Jack competes for Padonia Park Club which is a part of the Central Maryland Diving League. At a club level, he dives off of one-meter springboards, but to get a scholarship, he needs to move up to three-meter springboards. The only difference between diving off these different boards is timing. Jack is hoping to get a scholarship from Loyola, Towson, or UMBC to continue his career in diving, and he hopes to compete in the 2016 Brazil Olympics.

     In the summer, Jack practices six to seven days a week for two or more hours a day at Padonia. In the off-season, he practices once a week, generally on Fridays, at Towson University for one to two hours.

     At competitions, diving is split between age groups and then separated by boys and girls. Dives are scored off of degree of difficulty, form, entry, execution, approach, and aesthetics. Competitions are not hard for Jack, he just taught himself just to block things out. It’s all about “how strong you are mentally,” Jack said. Every board is different so it’s obviously easier to compete at home.

     Diving is both an individual and team sport. Competitors earn individual placement and score points for their teams. Jack said, “People don’t recognize diving until big things come around like the Olympics.”

     Although diving isn’t offered at Hereford, Jack has found a way to pursue his favorite sport.