By Erin Moy
Schuyler Moore â10 takes her place roughly eight meters above the ground. At the end of the board, she turns around and leaps without a moment of hesitation. While airborne, she flips twice and, seamlessly transforming her last flip into a perfect dive, cuts through the water with her body perfectly straight.
Mooreâs recent victory on March 13 in the Rio Mesa Diving Invitational in Oxnard, CA not only involved her setting a pool record of 519 points and automatically qualifying for the CIF Southern Section Championships held in May, but also made her eligible for All-American honors, an award given by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association to the top 130 male and 130 female high school divers.
A competitive gymnast since she was seven years old, Moore quit gymnastics before 10th grade, a change that Moore found difficult to do since she saw gymnastics as her “first love.”
It was due to a combination of physical conditions including tendonitis, osgood schlatters, and a growth spurt that Moore started diving on the recommendation of her gymnastics coach.
“Basically everyone in diving is an ex-gymnast and it makes everything so much easier to pick up,” Moore said.
“There is a certain awareness of where you are in the air; I can actually feel exactly where I am in the flip,” Moore said.
“[Moore] came to diving from the world of gymnastics and was used to training about 15 plus hours a week,” said diving coach Tim McLaughlin. “I suggested if she wanted more intensive coaching she should go see Tom [Steppins, the coach of the UCLA dive team].”
The high injury rate of gymnastics also convinced Moore to switch.
“No mistakes in diving could ever hurt as badly as mistakes in gymnastics. Water doesnât do as much damage as the beam,” Moore explained.
While Moore herself does not see many of her experiences during her first year in diving as main achievements, others saw her first year as an impressive start.
“Schuyler made an immediate impact her first year of diving, finishing third in CIF Division II.Â That was the highest finish of any diver in my 15 years of coaching,” McLaughlin said.
Moore thinks the majority of her achievements have occurred last year, most notably the national tournament where Moore won fifth place.
Moore thinks of her performance at the national tournament last year as “a step in the right direction.” However she is also aware of her late start in the game.
“Everyone else started diving really young, so I feel like I have a lot of work to do before I reach my full potential,” Moore said.
While she thinks of her qualification in nationals as “a big deal,” it was her final placement in the tournament that has left her with the biggest impression.
“Placing fifthÂ was the icing on the fact that I qualified in the first place,” Moore said.
“It is fun to get to the finals but at the same time itâs frustrating because youâre so close to first,” Moore said.
Mooreâs debut in the national tournament is, however, not what she sees as her biggest pool of competition. Recently, Moore has been considering the 2012 Olympics.
Originally, Moore saw herself as going out for the U.S. diving team.
“Going for another country just seemed like a huge cop out,” Moore said, “but then I started to realize how politicized the USA Diving Federation is and, because of that, how hard it would be to qualify so I looked at my other options.”
Those other options included the idea of getting a dual citizenship in South Korea as Moore is half Korean. Moore thinks of the Olympics as an incredible opportunity.
“I know if I go, it wonât be enough just to compete,” Moore said. “Iâll want to win it.”
Though Moore is committed to attending Harvard in the fall, she does not intend to let her diving fade into the background.
“Her athletic ability coupled with her highly competitive desire to be the best, provided her to compete at the US Junior National Championships last summer,” Steppins said.Â
“Schuyler is currently working on some dives that even some [divers] on my college team have never tried,” Steppins said.
“I am confident in saying that by the time she graduates, Schuyler will have become the best diver in Harvard-Westlake history and will become a valuable addition to Harvard College diving program as she moves on to the next level,” McLaughlin said.
“I have this theory that I will be able to beat anyone if I try harder and put more hours in than anyone else out there,” Moore said.
“It seems so simple, but honestly, so many people donât go 100 percent during practices and donât do drills at home and thatâs what it takes to push you above the pack,” Moore said.