ST. CLOUD — By the top of her senior yr of highschool in 2018, Tech diver Meredith Matchinsky was mentally burned out.
Whereas she had completed because the Class 2A state runner-up on the 1-meter diving board, her want appeared to fade by the top of the varsity yr.
“I did not have the drive for it, and I did not get pleasure from it very a lot,” Matchinsky stated just lately. “It is a actually scary sport … you are going to apply each day, and also you’re certain to do one thing that type of terrifies you.”
She was driving an hour backwards and forwards each day for further diving apply within the Twin Cities, even throughout the swim season. That work paid off as she rose from ninth at state in 2016 to 3rd in 2017 earlier than taking second in 2018.
“She was very decided. If she did not get something, she would hold working at it till she did,” Matchinsky’s highschool coach Garrett Ewers stated. “It is enjoyable to teach folks like her which have a real drive to be higher.”
However as soon as she had misplaced that want for diving, Matchinsky thought she would have the ability to keep off the board. Nonetheless, solely six months later — as a school freshman — she could be competing for St. Cloud State College on the NCAA Division II nationals within the 3-meter and 1-meter dives.
Matchinsky determined to attend St. Cloud State for its enterprise faculty and affordability, however she rapidly discovered one thing was lacking. With mates moved away and never taking part in sports activities for the primary time in years, she reached out to Huskies diving coach Kayla Deters.
Deters was a diving state runner-up in 2006 and 2007 at Sauk Rapids, and he or she had coached Matchinsky at diving camps at St. Cloud State within the summers of Matchinsky’s sophomore and junior seasons.
After working arduous to get Matchinsky to decide to St. Cloud State, Deters backed off when it appeared the Tech grad would not dive in any respect in school.
She continued to maintain up with Matchinsky to ask how her freshman yr was going and if she’d ever wish to cease by the pool. About three weeks into the season, Matchinsky took her up on the supply.
“She really got here on a day that divers have been filling out aim sheets for the yr,” Deters stated. “So I gave her one, too … she may fill out her objectives for teachers or her private life. Then she despatched me a message asking if it wasn’t too late (to) be part of the group.”
Matchinsky rapidly slot in together with her new teammates, who welcomed her into the goofy ambiance that’s Huskies diving.
“Her character is what actually shines. She’s quirky, she’s goofy, she’s enjoyable. She laughs on a regular basis and he or she cracks jokes,” Deters assist. “She added that stage of leisure to our group, and he or she match so effectively with the present scholar athletes. It was an ideal match. The camaraderie was immediate.”
Matchinsky was additionally excited to dive below Deters, who took over because the SCSU diving coach in 2013 after just a few seasons teaching at ROCORI. Matchinsky described her as one of many nicest coaches she’s had, and he or she rapidly discovered success below Deters.
Matchinsky was a part of a stacked Huskies girls’s diving lineup that noticed junior Madison Brinkman, senior Rebekah Stone and junior Alyssa Doherty all qualify for nationals on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards.
Additionally they impressed on the NSIC championships, claiming 4 of the top-five positions in each occasions. Matchinsky had a powerful first displaying on the convention meet by ending second within the 3-meter dive and fifth at 1-meter.
Machinsky described successful that convention championship as a group because the spotlight of the yr. However the strides she made below Deters shocked even herself.
“I wished to get plenty of new dives this yr, and I wished to recover from my fears so much,” Matchinsky stated. “I’ve completed extra new dives this yr than I ever had earlier than, which is stunning as a result of I believed I would peaked in highschool.”
Matchinsky completed in 10th on the 3-meter board on the nationwide meet in Geneva, Ohio, though she hadn’t touched a 3-meter board in a few yr.
She managed to complete forward of two of her teammates after 4 Huskies superior previous the preliminary spherical of cuts on “Black Tuesday,” when over 50 divers are minimize to 22 in a grueling 12-plus hours of diving.
“Studying 3-meter for any highschool athlete is a scary ordeal,” Deters stated. “Do not push the large dives immediately: be taught the method (and) get the arrogance, and people massive dives will come later.
“Now that she has that basis, the subsequent few years are going to be superior up there (at 3-meter),” Deters continued. “To be taught the arrogance … is simply going to make her 1-meter stronger.”
Matchinsky wasn’t capable of showcase her 1-meter prowess on the nationwide stage after the Division II championships have been canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Matchinsky had completed fourth on 1-meter on the qualifying meet on Black Tuesday, however when the SCSU group arrived to assist their teammates within the swimming finals on Match 12, NCAA indicators have been being taken down and the group was instructed the meet was off.
It took your complete drive again to Minnesota for the Huskies to completely course of what had simply occurred.
Whereas the ending was robust to bear, Deters has excessive hopes for her youngest diver at nationals.
“When (Meredith) is ready to get again on a board, we will enhance her dives,” Deters stated. “The sky is the restrict for her as a result of she’s so naturally gifted and has such a powerful basis base.”
The way in which her season was minimize quick will certainly function gasoline for Matchinsky on the 1-meter board subsequent season. However extra importantly, she was capable of finding belonging in her new diving household.
“I do not know what I’d’ve completed this yr with out that group,” Matchinsky stated. “Diving makes my life so significantly better.”
Learn up on extra school athletes in our current “the place are they now” collection:
Erin Navraitl — Former Albany star makes second NCAA tournament for SCSU
Lariah Washington — Former Apollo star thriving at Eastern Illinois
James Kaczor — Former Tech grad fitting in at FCS powerhouse NDSU
Brevyn Spann-Ford — Spann-Ford prepares for key season with Minnesota football
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