Petersen takes head on plunge into the world of competitive diving

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

Freshman diver Langley Peterson gets ready for a jump off a 10m diving board. Petersen trains in Columbus with a club weekly, and hopes to compete in future national and global competitions.

A young talent is climbing her way to both the top of the 10 meter diving board and profound success.

Freshmen Langley Petersen has achieved impressive feats in the diving world. Petersen has been on the national stage 3 times, finishing as high as 2nd place in the platform event in her age group. She has trained with Olympic divers, and commonly works with one of the top diving clubs in the nation.

Petersen said that she grew up around the pool. With siblings playing sports, Petersen said she started off early with rec soccer, and gymnastics. But later, with the help of some inspiration, Petersen started her diving career.

“My older brother, Chad, dove for a little bit. He wasn’t high level or anything but that’s what got me started,” Petersen said. “That was when I was 7, but then I quit for about a year to go back to gymnastics, but then came back to diving. I started with OSU with lessons then gradually moved up through their program.”

Reaching elite levels in any sport requires year-round training, but the High School’s diving team is only one season, winter. To continue practicing regularly. Petersen said she dives for not only the Comets, but also a club team. Her club practices at Ohio State University, which is about an hour and a half a way.

“During the school week I generally leave school pretty early and head over to my club practice.” Petersen said. “When practice is over I usually get home at 9pm. Saturday is the only day in the week when I’m not diving. I really don’t get much time at home.”

Due to this convoluted schedule of school and practice, combined with the long drive to her practice facility, Petersen is generally not able to attend the full school day. This may sound nice to most high schoolers, but Petersen said she doesn’t get to go home early and doesn’t have the option to take electives like many others.

“I only take 5 bells, the core classes and French,” Petersen said. “I would like to take some fun classes. For example, I really want to take photography in the future, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like that can happen right now with my schedule.”

Although Petersen has grown accustomed to working  through this struggle, she doesn’t lose sight of the future. Petersen said she hopes that all of her training is leading her down a bright path, and perhaps even to representing the country on the international stage one day in the future. 

“On my club team the overall goal is to make it to the Olympics,” Petersen said. “But the USA team also has a program called tier 3, it’s for the really good divers, it’s a privilege to be on. They get extra training and accommodations, I almost made it one year, but I haven’t yet.”

While the Olympics is Petersen’s long term goal, the near future is also in her sights. Petersen said that she wants to dive at the next level, which will open up many different opportunities regardless of where she ends up.

“I definitely do want to dive at a collegiate level,” Petersen said. “Diving is like my whole life now. I can’t imagine not doing it. Also I could get some scholarships for it. Then after college I would see where the road takes me. Olympics is possible but there is also professional diving outside the Olympics.”

As Petersen progresses, and becomes even more of an elite athlete she feels the hefty expectations more and more. But Petersen is built to deal with the stress and is used to meeting expectations under high stress meets.

“When I got to this level of diving I definitely feel the pressure at different meets,” Petersen said. “I remember being super scared at nationals and my coach expects me to perform. But I made it this far so I am used to it. My parents also used to put a lot of pressure on me but they saw how it was affecting me, now they’re working on just being proud of me — which they always have been.”

Photo by Scott Reckers.