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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Junior Desi Amprey Wins DCSAA Diving Championship

Junior Desi Amprey, the sole diver on the Swim and Dive team, won the D.C. State Athletic Association (DCSAA) state championship this past month. Amprey said that she loves bringing home a championship title to school and to her family, while also being able to share it with her teammates. 

Amprey hopes that younger girls and aspiring divers will look up to her, especially young Black girls who don’t see a lot of Black divers in the sport. 

Although she previously won the accolade as a freshman, Amprey explains that  her win this year was more rewarding because she was competing against a bigger and more competitive group of opponents. She was also especially proud of her performance because her technique and confidence improved as the meet went on. 

Amprey also noted the adversity she had to overcome during the meet. The board she was supposed to complete her dives on was malfunctioning, resulting in edited versions of her dive routine, techniques and strategies. The board was not bouncy because one of its components was broken, resulting in a non-springy board. 

The second challenge she encountered was that she was diving without a coach. Since Sidwell does not have a coach that specializes in diving, Amprey usually receives tips from the Flint Hill coach. But since Flint Hill is based in Virginia, and does not compete in the DCSAA State Championships, Amprey dove without her usual Flint Hill diving friends or their coach.

In order to receive feedback during the meet, Amprey resorted to asking some of her friends on the team about her dives,, but that was the only feedback she was able to receive throughout the competition. 

Amprey started diving about four and a half years ago, but she was a gymnast before that. She began diving when she ended her gymnastics career, as this is a natural pathway for many athletes due to the similar skill sets required. 

When asked about the experience of being the only diver on the team, Amprey shared that it can be isolating at times, but she is still able to form strong bonds with the swimmers despite preparing for a very different competition. She enjoys hanging out and bonding with her other teammates and being able to share these experiences at the swim meets and especially at the championship and share her win with them. 

Amprey expressed that she would love it if other divers either be recruited or added to the team so that she would be able to talk with them about her experiences in diving.

Because she is the only diver on the team, and since there is no designated coach for diving, she does not go to the regularly scheduled practices that the other swimmers go to. She said that this sometimes impacts the bond she shares with the other teammates, but the time she does get to have with them is always enjoyable.

Her friend on her club diving team, who goes to Flint Hill in Virginia, also goes to many of the same meets Amprey goes to compete for Sidwell. Amprey says it is always good to see a friendly face to calm her nerves before she goes out to compete. However, the girl is graduating this year, so Amprey won’t be able to have a friendly face in the competition next year. 

A typical competition day for Amprey starts with the bus ride  with Coach Miller and the rest of the Sidwell swim team. When they arrive at the meet, Amprey is usually allowed to warm up for about one hour, and during that time she will be able to practice her dives. Amprey said time usually allows for two to three practice dives for each dive before competition. Then, the judges come over and read the diving order aloud. 

There are many different dives that are allowed in a set. The voluntary dive is simple and more straightforward than the other categories. Optional dives are dives with freedom of choice and are harder dives with a high level of difficulty. The more challenging dives require greater  technique with more flipping and turning. 

To start a judged dive, announcers read the name of the competitor and the degree of difficulty of the dive. There are usually five judges in total who raise a numbered sign from one to ten to rate the dive.

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