The Last First Day and a Win

Tomorrow is the official beginning of the end- the first day of my last semester. It’s borderline a miracle I even have class that day, being registered in only 6 semester hours means I only have to go school two days a week! Not a bad way to finish my degrees.

We successfully lived through training camp. Three weeks concluded with our first dual meet of 2015 in Illinois, where we dominated the boards finishing 1,2,3, and 5 on both 1m and 3m and winning the meet overall 165-135! The meet itself turned into somewhat of an emotional day, as the three super seniors were competing together again, knowing it was the final stretch. Everything came together for me that day- not only was I thrilled out of my mind to be reunited but I also ended up setting a pool record on the 3m board. The record had been set in 2011 by my then teammate now roommate, and USA Olympic hopeful. To have her set the record my freshman year, and then come back to claim it myself my fifth year, was one of the most surreal moments. Walking away with those results gave me a lot of confidence going in the championship season. We are ready, the training is working, and all the pieces are falling into place.

Want the meet recap? Find it here.

I needed a couple rest days after the whirlwind that was Saturday morning, taking all of Sunday to sleep in and unpack and watch 10 episodes of House. We even got this morning off before coming back this afternoon to get back to work!

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This post started as a recap of how it feels to be on my last semester, but all I can think about is the meet last week, the meet this week, and practice today. I can’t help it- I can’t dwell on the countdown looming in the back of my mind till it’s all over. I know I’ll always be a Hawkeye, and I plan to keep diving, but it’s such a different feeling competing for Iowa and being on the roster. This is my team. This is my second family. It’s such a huge part of who I am, I’ve never lived in the now like this before. I feel like I am fully dedicating myself to the present moment- to embrace and rejoice in everything this last semester brings. I’m not ready for the “alumni” title. I’m not ready for this now, this present day, to be over.

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Throwback Thursday, Diving Edition

I started diving as a 13 year old, taking a break at 14, and coming back at 15. I turned 17 at my first Junior Nationals, and 18 at my last. In 2009 I made finals at my first Senior Nationals and have made appearances at Nationals on off since moving in Iowa in 2010. I’ve represented Iowa ever since, and I’ve actually reached my final college season.

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2008? Maybe?

A lot has changed since I started diving came to Iowa last year. Overall, I can’t imagine my life without diving. Even now as I sit in my hotel room in Minnesota, at a school where I thought one time was the place for me, it seems so strange to me that tomorrow is my last meet here. Outside of the physicality of diving itself, it has given me more things than I possibly could dreamed of for myself.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over Canada, the US, and various parts the world for diving and because of diving. I’ve lived in two of the greatest cities on the continent- Calgary and Iowa City no not biased at all.

I’ve met the greatest friends I will ever have, and will always have. The friendships I have created and developed through this sport will always be the greatest thing I ever received.

The diving community is a small community, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. We support each other, we all know each other, and we love each other.

I know I’ve been struggling to recap my Vietnam experience, because how do I put that into words? But…diving? When I retire, whenever that may be, it won’t even be an experience to write about. It will have been my life. Even now diving has been the last 8 years of my life- that’s not an experience to be recapped or summarized. It even seems funny to say as a blogger/writer, because I always want to go over things and relive them and experience the moments over and over again.

How would you summarize the last 8 years of your life?

This time your late night rant was brought to you by a five hour bus ride.

Black and Gold at 10:37pm

Second day of my self proclaimed blogging challenge and here I am sitting down to write at 10:37pm! Like I said yesterday, I’ll consider this day a success regardless. It’s before midnight, I’m writing, and it’s not like I procrastinating doing it this is just when I happened to find time today.

Tomorrow is one of those days I don’t know when I am going to find time to write. That’s when you make time- that goes for exercise, mediation, whatever your floats your boat and right now mine is this. Tomorrow my day will start at 6:30am and likely not end till 10:30pm. I have weights, class, practice, lunch meetings (doesn’t that sound official wow) team photos, meet warm ups, dual meet day one, parent social and team function with recruits. Not my most typical Friday, but not the worst day I’ve had in college either.

I haven’t competed for the Hawkeyes since March of 2013. Taking a year off from college competition was one of the longest years of my life, and so beneficial even if I missed a few meets. Do I feel competition ready with all my dives in October? Not in the slightest. Am I excited to get back up on boards with the tiger hawk on my chest, representing my team and community? More than you can imagine. Competing as a Hawkeye has been the greatest gift of my entire life. Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye. Do the results from this weekend’s meet mean anything? Not at all. I could win both boards or come dead last and it means so little. We’re training for February. We’re training for the championship season, and these meets are just to get our heads in the game.

I’m all in. I’m so excited. I’m nervous, but I’m proud. This team has meant the world to me for going on five years now, and tomorrow is the last first meet of it all. It’s going to the first of a lot of “lasts”.

One of the greatest comforts in the world is knowing that where ever I go in life, I will forever be a Hawkeye. This team has been my family and this team has been my home. Whether this was my first dual meet or my last meet of all time, it’s a community. I never competed for a team until I came to Iowa, and the feeling is much stronger than competing for yourself. Even now, writing, I can feel my heart swell in my chest for all the amazing men and women I’ve had the privilege of calling my team mates and my friends.

Tomorrow might be the beginning of the end, but this is a lifelong identity. Until the Game is Won #Hawks

So, What About Diving?

I started this blog in the hopes that my friends and family back home could read about what my life was like down in the States- as a NCAA Division 1, student-athlete. That mission holds true today but now a lot more people read this blog than I thought! I love writing about the healthy recipes I’ve tried, the travel we must go through, weekend getaways, and accomplishing goals.

So, why haven’t I ACTUALLY been writing about diving? It’s the funniest thing, for a student athlete blogger I write way more about life than I do about my own sport! In fact if someone was to come across my blog now, they would probably think I’m some type of runner (hahahahahahaha. No.)

A little background- during the 2013/2014 season I actually took what’s called a “red-shirt” year, which basically means I take a year off from competing for my college team. I was/am still training with them, was there for home meets, had all the same workouts, I just didn’t travel to the away meets and conference and such! Every NCAA athlete has four years of eligibility to compete with five years to use it, so now I’ve used 3 years of my NCAA eligibility and my red shirt year, and will be competing my fifth year at Iowa! Clearly having less diving competitions would give me less of a reason to write about it- I simply have less competitions to recap. In fact, this year I competed only one time at the 2014 Canadian Winter Senior National Championships.

I took my red shirt year because I know I’m not done yet. I wasn’t ready to dive for one more year, walk across the stage, get my degrees and get on my life. No way. I knew if I was going to keep diving I might as well represent Iowa my fifth year rather than forth, as I’ll have a whole other year of training under my belt. I want to represent Iowa the best I can at the B1G Championships, NCAA Zones, and maybe even the NCAA Championships. I took the year to train my butt off, learn new dives, support the team. I figured out my last year of school class-wise, and am soooo so ready to return to competition in the fall.

So yes, this is a student-athlete blog. And this student-athlete cannot WAIT for the 2014/2015 season! The season right now looks like, well nothing. It’s the season of cross-training and relaxing and getting your batteries recharged as my coach would say. The time to focus and buckle down is not this time, just staying on my toes :) If the blog makes it look like I’m on a permanent vacation I am I assure you it’s simply the time of year! This is when I can let my body de-stress, try new things, travel, and visit with my family and friends.

The diving is there. The diving has been there, is with me now, and will be there with a vengeance this fall! Thanks for reading all the content I put out there that doesn’t even have to do with diving :)

Almond Butter Chocolate Coconut Bars

So did you know Hy-Vee has this machine where you make your own almond butter RIGHT THERE?? I didn’t until last week! Apparently it’s a thing! I took pictures! Which, in hindsight, was embarrassing. But you know what you can do with $6 worth of fresh almond butter? Turn into bars that taste like dessert and breakfast and heaven all rolled into one.

These recipes have been 3-time US National Champ approved. Aka my best friend Deidre Freeman and I really like to eat.

These were made the same night we made the Sweet Potato Brownies. So we had TWO chocolate fixes for the weekend! And in case you can’t tell by now, I’m a tad obsessed with coconut. I add to everything I bake, to oatmeal, to smoothies, you name it I’ll do it. I’m constantly getting bags of coconut because it goes so well with everything I find ways to add it ALL the time!

Anyways! Onto the chocolate. And did I mention these are no-bake?!

This recipe has been adapted from Holistically Engineered! You’ll need

  • 3/4 flour (the original says almond flour, but you could use coconut or whole wheat!)
  • 3/4 shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • + 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 ounces of dark chocolate

In a large bowl, mix the flour, coconut, and sugar. Melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan, and then add the almond butter. Melt the two together over medium-low heat. Once mixed well, add the almond butter to the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.

In the same or another small saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of almond butter with the chocolate. Once completely melted and combined, pour over top of the original almond butter mixture and smooth with a spatula till even. Place in freezer to set, and serve! We had ours in for about an hour to an hour and a half before we sampled, and it was just about perfect. I ended up keeping the rest of them in the freezer all weekend!

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I am a BIG fan of these! Not only were they incredible easy, they were sooo good straight from the freezer. As you can see from the photos, we had to use a larger pan (brownies were taking up my larger one), but to honest next time I’d probably just double it and fill the pan! If you’re keeping them in the freezer, why not? You could individual wrap some of them and think about how perfect that would be lunch? Mmmm. They also made for a perfect post-Saturday practice treat, with lattes of course.

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In case you’re wondering what making two different desserts at once look like…oh the state of my kitchen…

“Results Not Indicative of Performance”

I did promise a nationals update! The 2014 Canadian Winter Senior Nationals were held March 7th-9th in Saskatoon, just this past weekend. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to summarize it. There were highs and lows, some great dives and let downs. Gdklnblnkjzfs. This is hard. It’s like I’m completely split down the middle of those good days and bad, and one emotion can’t out-weigh the other.

The Good- It was awesome to see some old friends, and have the opportunity to train and compete at the facility where I attended my first Senior Nationals in 2009. My mother and sister got to come which was words-can’t-describe awesome, as well as my NCAA coach and my team-mate/future roomie/3-time US National Champ. I felt confident, prepared, relaxed, with a healthy dose of nerves. I knew I was there to do great work, show off my training. Even the Diving Canada official who Talent ID’d me as a 15 year old told me my diving was “on a whole other level” this year. That compliment made the trip worth it.

The Bad- In practice, our coach will sometimes tell us that dive was a “good miss.” A good miss means that you achieved what you wanted to achieve. even if the dive itself didn’t end pretty. I feel like my entire event can be classified as a “good miss.” I accomplished probably one of the most stable mind-sets I ever have in a competition, and didn’t “hit the panic button” on any of my dives. My tops and starts, taking off the board and getting into the dive, were everything I wanted them to be. In all honesty I couldn’t have asked for better take-offs. Unfortunately that day that equaled dives where I couldn’t find the bottom, resulting in low scores. I accomplished what I meant to, but not all the way through the dive.

I asked my friend to text our coach after the event helping to explain myself as I was mortified at the results and what the scoreboard said. At the end of her text, she wrote “Results were not indicative of performance.”

There’s still some reflection to be done, without a doubt. I don’t need to dwell on it, but want to draw out all the positives. I can’t thank my fam, Hawkeye fam, and support system enough for cheering me on!

This is not the end of the road, but a bump in it. I’ve got more in me. That is not the result I will be remembered by, and that is not the event that defines me. Moving on. There are some great things to come this spring (and with this weather I can ACTUALLY say spring!)

But seriously, you guys are da best.