BY BEN KARKELA
Bethany Pollock wanted to quit after her first diving practice in the eighth grade, but her coach encouraged her to give it one more shot. Thatâ€™s when she fell in love with the sport.
Pollock, a freshman diver at MSUM, splits her time between schoolwork and the pool. She almost did not join the diving team this season in favor of focusing on her studies.
She decided to join the team a week into the season, a decision that paid off when she qualified for the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships March 9-12 in San Antonio.
With her performance, Pollock was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Diver of the Week on Jan. 25. It was the second week in a row a Dragon diver was named Diver of the Week.
â€œIâ€™m really glad I joined diving, I wasnâ€™t going to do it this year,â€ Pollock said. â€œItâ€™s the best decision I made.â€
In order to qualify for nationals, Pollock needed to break a score of 390 points on 11 dives from the 1-meter board. Pollock qualified during the Dragon-Cobber Invite on Jan. 22 at Alex Nemzek Swimming Pool with a score of 401.75.
Pollock said she knew she was close to breaking 390 during the meet because she scored high in her early dives. After her final dive, she looked into the crowd and saw her mom nodding in approval as her score was added up. Pollock became the second Dragon diver to qualify for nationals this season, after freshman Shayna Dugger.
Earlier in the season, at the Mutual of Omaha Invitational on Dec. 3-4, Pollock fell shy of the mark by seven points. She worked hard in practice and prepared for the Dragon-Cobber Invite by getting a good nightâ€™s sleep and eating a healthy breakfast.
Pollock, 19, credits much of her success this year to Diving Coach Lindsey Gunderson.
â€œSheâ€™s the best coach Iâ€™ve ever had,â€ Pollock said. â€œShe understands how to coach me. She picks up on that and I feel like itâ€™s helped me so much.â€
In order to prepare for nationals, Pollock will go over her list of over 40 dives she will attempt during the competition. Her favorite dive is the one summersault triple twist, a dive she just learned this year. Pollock likes this particular dive because it is one with a high difficulty that scores her the most points.
Pollock plans to dive for MSUM for her entire college career. She chose MSUM because of the good education program and because she felt at home during her tour of the campus.
Pollock knows she has her family and friends to cheer her on during her diving career at MSUM.
â€œThey are so supportive. Theyâ€™ll come to everything,â€ Pollock said. â€œI couldnâ€™t ask for a better family and people for support.â€
Pollock will compete next at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet on Feb. 10 in Grand Junction, Colo.