By Megan Toninato – [email protected]
First-year diver Maggie Pomerenke started her collegiate diving career just five months ago and she’s already made CSB history.
She stood atop the one-meter diving board on Jan. 28 and plummeted into the water recording the best 11-dive set in CSB swim and dive history.
Back in 1996, Katie Macy set the record for the one-meter 11-dive set with a score of 409.60. For years, Blazers chased this score, and Pomerenke smashed the record at home in her first year with a score of 423.25.
“I am completely shocked,” Pomerenke said via email. “I didn’t expect anything like that to happen this year, but it does feel good to know that even though I still have tons and tons of work to do, I can still find success in the here and now.”
Where Pomerenke’s story begins is not where you may expect. Athletes usually spend years perfecting their craft, especially when it comes to diving. But just two years ago during her junior year of high school, Pomerenke decided to join the diving team at Nathan Hale High School in New Berlin, Wisconsin.
“At that point, I had been a recreational gymnast for somewhere around 10 years,” Pomerenke said.
With a background in gymnastics, Pomerenke was able to bring her flexibility and remarkable technique to diving. Not only was she a gymnast but she also started out her high school career on the cross country team.
“I decided that [cross country] wasn’t fun for me anymore, and I joined diving,” Pomerenke said. “It wasn’t at all difficult to fall in love with diving. My coach was amazing, my team was amazing and I gained a lot of
confidence not just as an athlete, but a person.”
After having a great experience in high school, Pomerenke decided to continue her newfound passion when she arrived at St. Ben’s.
As a first-year, not only is Pomerenke learning how to be a great diver, but she is also learning how to be a great teammate.
What many people do not know is that the CSB divers and the SJU divers practice together, creating a team dynamic unlike any other sport.
“Being that there aren’t many of us divers, we all get along and get to know each other very well, both men and women,” Pomerenke said. “Both the SJU and CSB divers practice together and we have the same coach, Jon [Hazen], who we all love, so it’s really a close-knit group.”
This doesn’t make the CSB divers feel any less a part of the swim team, though. Pomerenke said Head Coach Dan Eckberg helps keep them included.
“We’re a bit like our own little team at the crossroads of two big teams. Dan has done a really nice job of making sure the four of us CSB divers feel like part of the CSB team,” Pomerenke said. “Even so, we have so many opportunities to make friends with the swimmers despite being on completely different schedules, having a different coach and practicing on different campuses.”
With three years left as a Blazer, Pomerenke hopes the future holds wonderful things.
“I am very excited,” Pomerenke said. “Not only to see what the future holds, but I’m looking forward to learning more as a diver, and I look forward to taking on the challenges that I’ll face along the way.”
Pomerenke is expected to dive next weekend at the MIAC Championships in Minneapolis.
Feature photo credit: BRETT ZALLEK • [email protected]