The Greenwich YMCA Marlins diving team is on its way to yet another Nationals event this year, after having many of its divers compete in the Amateur Athletic Union Nationals (AAU) this past week.
This time around, eight of the Marlins’ divers will be going to the USA Junior National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, July 27.
Although the Marlins do exceedingly well at these events, a lot of hard work and mental strength is needed to be able to accomplish all that these divers have done.
Leading the Marlins team to success are coaches Brooke Reinfeld and Lindsay Iordache, who have been coaching for 20 years and 16 years, respectively. For Reinfeld, being a coach is much more than just telling her students to keep their chests back or keep their toes pointed.
“This is my family,” Reinfeld said, “my relationships with them go far past diving.”
And for Iordache, coaching her divers is all about trust; trust in both the coach and in oneself. These coaches’ main goal is to help their divers jump over their own emotional hurdles and stay tough mentally.
Throughout the season, the Marlins have been training ten hours a week, sometimes more, doing strength training, ballet, and intense diving practice. Through progressions, the head coaches have been able to work on their divers’ starts, entries, and everything in between. But diving is mainly an individual sport, so what is most important to a coach is to “teach to the person,” Reinfeld said, since each kid has a different personality and a variety of strengths.
So what plays the biggest part in becoming a great diver? Simply put, mentality.
Because the sport is based upon judges seeing every little detail of a dive, there is a lot of pressure to get everything right. And when that does not happen, and a diver smacks the water, it is up to the divers to get themselves back up and try again.
“It takes a special personality to succeed,” Iordache said. Luckily for the Marlins, the diving team has many young girls and boys who exhibit just that.
One member of the team, Carolina Sculti, has been a huge part of its success. Sculti, who qualified for the World Junior Diving Championships and Olympic Trials, and won the Junior Pan American Championships in 2015 in the girls’ 14-15-year-old 1-meter event, has made the YMCA diving team excel.
“It has been a real honor to watch Carolina dive in the past three years here,” said Bob Deangelo, CEO of the YMCA. “She is a great role model to younger divers and has been inspirational to all of our staff. It has also been so special to witness the very close bonds of trust and friendship she has with our dive coaches. Carolina is a huge source of pride to our Y.”
As the team gets ready to make a splash at Nationals, they can reflect on all the hard effort they have put into making themselves champions throughout the past years. “For them to place, coaches can say they did their job,” Reinfeld added, “But being there is already a celebration itself.” And so, like with the Marlins swim team, here’s to wishing another inspiring team to great success at Nationals.