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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Ogata’s diving career reaches new depths

Morgan Ogata

By Kaylee Chan| Editor in Chief

   Imagine standing on the precipice of a diving board roughly ten feet in the air, with nothing but a swimming pool to cushion the fall. Imagine somersaulting off of that lofty platform, completing full backflips midair as the wind rushes past and the water below hurtles closer with every second.

   For the average person this might seem like a nightmare in the making, but for senior Morgan Ogata, it is just another Tuesday.

   Ogata, the only diver on Gabrielino High School’s swim and dive team, is highly dedicated to the sport. She has participated in and received medals at a variety of diving meets, including national competitions. One of the most memorable meets she attended was in Canada, where she got the chance to compete against divers from all over the world.

   The level of skill Ogata has achieved in dive has gotten her accepted into Cornell University as an athlete. The school initially caught her eye because of its strong engineering program, as well as the friendliness of the dive team there.

   “I got to talk to the [Cornell dive] coach and I thought his coaching philosophy was really positive,” said Ogata. “Also, I got to go on a visit there and the team was really close and welcoming.”

   At Cornell, Ogata will be a diver under the NCAA Division 1 (D-1) athletics program, which is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.

   “It was definitely kind of surreal, just thinking of committing as a D-1 athlete,” said Ogata. “Usually when I picture a D-1 athlete, I think of a big football player. It was definitely a surprise, but I was really happy with my decision.”

   Ogata has been a high-level athlete since a young age, starting out as a competitive gymnast at five years old before switching to diving when she was ten. “[Gymnastics] was very time-consuming, so I decided to look to another sport and diving was very similar,” she noted. “I liked that acrobatic aspect of sports so it really caught my attention.”

   To keep her skills sharp, Ogata tirelessly trains with Rose Bowl Aquatics Center outside of school, practicing six days a week from 3:30 to 6:30. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays are spent diving at the Rose Bowl’s three-meter springboard while Wednesdays are dedicated to dryland training at a facility in USC, which consists of learning and perfecting diving techniques with a trampoline instead of a swimming pool. Saturdays, according to Ogata, are a mixture of both.

   “I think it’s definitely a mentally challenging sport, having to trust yourself while flipping off of a diving board,” Ogata admitted. “It’s also a time commitment. It’s a lot of work trying to balance school and diving at the same time.”

   However, despite the sport’s intensity, the positives of pursuing dive far outweigh the negatives for Ogata.

   “It’s kind of nerve wracking at times, but it can also be very exciting to learn new stuff and just feel like you’re improving,” Ogata said.

   While she is naturally looking to improve as she enters college, Ogata is comfortable with the amount of success she’s reached as a diver thus far.

   “I wouldn’t really say I want to go to the Olympics,” Ogata laughed. “I think with diving, [I want] just to continue at the collegiate level and have fun with it.”

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