When it comes to competitive diving, the Walkovich sisters sure don’t feel like fish out of water. Senior Emily and Freshman Alexa have been at it for a combined 15 years. What started on a whim and overcoming an initial fear on the diving board at Highland Meadows Country Club has become a full-time passion for these talented young ladies. Besides diving for the Cougars, both are members of the Legacy Diving team in Ypsilanti in the off-season. To Alexa, a gymnast for eight years and dancer for twelve years, the transition to diving was seamless. Similarly, Emily a former multi-sport athlete including a stint at ice hockey (the Walkovich parents are from Canada), diving came instinctively.
Last weekend, the dynamic duo competed at the annual Northwest Ohio Aquatic Conference Championship and they didn’t disappoint. Twenty eight divers from various schools displayed their skills for those in attendance at Napoleon High School. Leading up to a dive, many of the athletes model their dive on the deck as they wait their turn. You can hear a pin drop as the diver takes the board and one quickly learns that concentration is a key component of diving. After the announcer reveals what to expect, such as a “front one and a half in the pike position“, or, a “reverse one and a half in the tuck position“, the diver takes the board. Emily, a three-time state qualifier and University of Akron-bound diver, explains that a diver’s demeanor on the board is very important to the judges. She exudes confidence when she takes the board, mentally visualizes her dive, nods at the judges indicating she’s ready, then takes a deep breath. What happens next is pure artistry.
After an initial five dives that are typically the best in their repertoire, the number of participants drops to 20 and the sisters make the cut. Three more dives of the higher score variety and that number is reduced to 16…still alive. The top 16 competitors save their toughest dives for last and attempt three more times before the scores are tabulated. After going to the scorecards, Alexa placed 4th and Emily was crowned Champion! Head Coach Phil Koester attributes the Walkovich sisters’ success to their commitment to the sport. “They are both very coachable and make the necessary corrections to be champions.” Emily and Alexa are both looking forward to what comes next on the springboard. Hopefully they will be able to dive side by side at the OHSAA State Championship in Canton.