Waxhaw’s Maleski looks ‘inward’ to win national diving title

by C. Jemal Horton

Sara Maleski

As Sara Maleski made her way to the edge of the platform for her final dive of the day, a myriad of thoughts dashed through her mind.
Would she finally be able to execute the dive that had given her so many problems in the practices leading up to the USA Diving Age-Group Championships?
Could she really do it – win a national title?
Had she trained hard enough? Was this her time?
In the end, the Waxhaw resident and Marvin Ridge High School freshman exhibited the poise and talent that already had made her one of the country’s top girls divers in her age group.
And after that last, gut-wrenching dive, she was the top girls diver in the nation for her age group.
Maleski wowed the crowd – and the judges – by nailing an inward 2½ somersault tuck from the 7.5-meter platform that helped her secure the 14-15 girls national championship last month in Knoxville, Tenn.
The 14-year-old Maleski received a score of 67.50 on the difficult dive, which pushed her dominant title-winning tally to 316.70. The second-place finisher had a score of 287.80.
“It feels pretty good to win a national championship,” said Maleski, who competes with Huntersville-based Carolina Diving Academy. “I received all 9s on that last dive, so it felt good to know all the hard work had paid off.”
After placing first in the preliminaries, Maleski continued to lead the field through the first two of three dives in the finals. Still, she fretted about her final dive, the inward 2½ somersault tuck.
“I had just learned it a week earlier, and (that last attempt) was the first time I was doing it in a competition,” Maleski said. “I wasn’t that confident. During practices, I was just bombing into the water. But I knew I had to do a good job with it to win the national championship.”
It didn’t take Maleski long to realize she’d done a good job.
“I felt good going in because I didn’t smack the water like I had during practice,” she said. “When I came up, everyone was just screaming, and that felt good. And as I climbed out of the water, my name was in first place. That’s when I knew I’d won it.”
It was a strong summer for Maleski. A week earlier, she competed at the AAU Diving National Championships in Riverside, Calif., where she placed third in the platform event, fifth on the 3-meter springboard and 10th on the 1-meter springboard – all while competing in the 15-year-old age group.
Then, she went to the University of Tennessee and had the meet of her young life.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I didn’t think I could ever win a national championship. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

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  1. Sara wll done i am extremely proud of you i do not stop telling people about you and your talents,all guys in my group ask about you all the time because i talk about you alot.So keep up the hard work that i know you do great in the future,my love to Hana and Ella.
    Love Pop Pop