Katie Laverty, a seventh grader at Rye Middle School, was one of two members of the Rye High School girls’ swim team to qualify for the States swimming and diving competition at Ithaca College last month.
By Melanie Cane
Katie Laverty, a seventh grader at Rye Middle School, was one of two members of the Rye High School girls’ swim team to qualify for the States swimming and diving competition at Ithaca College last month. The other qualifier was junior Maddy Kenney. Laverty, the youngest member of the RHS team and the youngest diver at States, came in 12th. Kenney placed 29th.
She was nervous going into States. “There were so many amazing divers that I didn’t think I’d make the first cut, much less place 12th,” said Katie.
Ideally, athletes get a good night’s sleep before competing, and Katie was planning to do just that. But the night before the competition, there was a fire in the hotel laundry room. All of the Section 1 girls were awakened at midnight and had to wait in their buses for an hour and a half before being moved to a different hotel. “We finally got to sleep at 2, and then we had to wake up at 9 to go to the pool. We warmed up for a while and then because we had to be there all day we tried to relax and get some rest before the meet finally stated at 5:30, and we dove all night! The meet didn’t end until almost midnight.”
She was one of 58 divers who performed five dives in five different categories. The top 24 girls did three more dives and the final 20 competed in another three, for a total of 11 in one night. Katie’s best dive was the double twister, which was one of two new ones she had to learn this year for the high school team.
She began swimming at age 5 at the Rye YMCA, where her mother Julianne is a volunteer coach, and discovered diving two years later, immediately falling in love with the sport. Although Katie would like to dive full time, she said, “My mom makes me keep swimming.” She swam the breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley on the RHS team and swims for the Rye Y in the winter and Rye Golf Club in the summer. She also dives with the Marlins Dive Club at the Greenwich YMCA. Two summers ago, Katie qualified for Nationals for the first time and ended up in 10thplace.
Katie is so passionate about diving that she practices six days a week, including two mornings from 5:30-7:00. She loves going to meets all over the country. “I get to make new friends and visit a lot of colleges and use really good diving facilities.”
Although hard work is what makes Katie such a great diver, there are downsides: she doesn’t have time to hang out with her non-diving friends and she misses a lot of school in the spring, when meets are on Thursday or Friday and often far away. The season starts in September with high school diving and ends in August with USA diving nationals. She’s glad that both of her brothers, James, 15, a baseball player, and Bryan, 8, a swimmer, try to attend all of her local meets.
Katie’s inspirations are England’s Tom Daley, who won the Bronze medal in the 10m in the 2012 Olympics, and David Boudia, a diver from Purdue University, who won the Gold in the 10m in the 2012 Olympics. She has met him twice and hopes to follow in his footsteps, or at the very least to qualify for the Olympics.