Athlete of the Week: Maddy Smith

Photos by Sebastian Evans.

Maddy Smith recently broke her own 1-meter diving score by over 13 points! In addition to that, she also came in first place in the 3-meter dive, scoring 264.90 compared to her previous school record of 244.60. Smith has been swimming for six years now and diving for three and a half. She originally started swimming after she was forced to quit gymnastics after 11 years because of an injury, but she said it has always been something she wanted to do and she tried it out and really liked it. When asked about what the difference was, in her eyes, between swimming and diving, she said, “I think that while swimming and diving are obviously different in terms of the physical movements of the sport, there are also a lot of similarities. Both sports focus a lot on specific body positions, however, in swimming you are trying to push your body even when you get tired, diving is about controlling your mind and body to dive while also trying to control nerves.”  

Kelli Quick: As an athlete we don’t just strive to beat others, but really in individualized events such as diving, I would argue that you would strive to push and compete against yourself even more. Not only did you come in first place, but you scored a total of 253.20 on your 1-meter dive. What steps did you take in order to beat your overall record by 13 points? 

Maddy Smith: I trained a lot this summer on the boards and on trampolines which really helped me improve my dives overall. I have also been getting more comfortable with all of the new dives that I learned last year so I think that this may have contributed to my personal best scores at the UW-Oshkosh meet. 

KQ: Not only did you come in first place in two events, but you broke two of your top records. Because of this, I was curious to ask if you thought that with you or with athletes in general, is it normal to break multiple records at a time and to kind of be on a “hot streak” per say? In other words do you think it is common and why or why not, especially considering it is hard enough to break one record?

MS: I don’t know if it is necessarily common or uncommon for athletes to break multiple records at a time; however, in diving it really just depends on how the person is feeling on the board that particular day. I think the reason that I had personal best scores at UW-Oshkosh was because I was just diving well that day. I had a really good warm-up and I also got to dive with some of my friends from UW-Oshkosh, so I was really excited to dive and cheer everyone on. 

KQ: Do you have any pre-routines that you do before events? Any superstitions that you must do to prepare? 

MS: I don’t necessarily have any specific pre-race or diving routines to prepare for meets, but I do tend to walk around and jump a lot before dives and races. When I get nervous I have a hard time staying in one place, so I do a lot of pacing behind the boards. 

KQ: Who has taught you the most about diving? Also, what was the best thing you were ever taught? 

MS: I have been lucky enough to have two amazing diving coaches throughout high school and here at Lawrence. My high school diving coach taught me a lot about how to deal with nerves during competitions since that is something that I struggled with when I first started diving. My diving coach here at Lawrence, Timothy, has taught me a lot about the techniques needed to perform higher level dives and has also helped me to have a greater understanding of the specific mechanics of every movement on the board. Timothy has not only helped me to add many new dives to my list, but he has also prepared me to feel confident with my dives going into meets. 

KQ: What’s your favorite quote? It could be something someone said to you, something you’ve heard or something you made up.

MS: “Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.” – Jack Kerouac

KQ: If you had to pick an ice cream flavor to match your personality, what would you choose and why? 

MS: I had a hard time thinking of this answer on my own, but after I asked my teammates they said that the Superman ice cream matches my personality because it is kind of crazy but has good flavor combinations. 

KQ: Blue or Gold dress?

MS: White and gold for sure.