GDS does, in fact, have a diving team. Freshman Colleen Ewald is the team’s leading scorer–– and its only member.
The GDS diving team has never been very large. In fact, none of the diving teams in the D.C. area are very large. Senior Nick Moen, a former member of the diving team, said there were no more than eight divers at a meet.
Moen joined the diving team in 2016 during his freshman year and remained a GDS diver until his junior year. Moen dove during the summers before coming to GDS, but was never an avid diver.
“I never enjoyed diving that much, and I’d rather do other things with my time,” Moen said.
So when it came time for the 2018-2019 diving season to begin, Moen decided not to return to the team and Colleen Ewald stepped onto the team as GDS’s sole diver.
When joining the team, Ewald was undeterred by the fact that she would be the only team member.
“Well, I’ve been doing it a while, so I was like, why not?” Ewald said.
Ewald attributes diving’s unpopularity to fears of injury. But she said that she started diving when she was seven years old and wasn’t really scared of getting hurt.
“When you’re not scared of getting hurt, you can do a lot of stuff,” she said.
Senior Hilda Gitchell, a member of the GDS swim team, has noticed Ewald’s work. “Colleen’s all into it,” Gitchell said. “It’s exciting to have a diver.”
Coached by Ali-Marie Murphy, Ewald practices three days a week with several other schools in the D.C. area, such as Holton-Arms, Georgetown Visitation, and Bullis. Generally, only four or five people show up to the practices. Regardless, Ewald thinks practicing with the other schools is fun.
“You don’t really think of it as competition,” Ewald said.
On days when Ewald doesn’t have practice, she often joins strength and conditioning led by physical education teacher Taylor Brown. In addition, Ewald plans on occasionally swimming for the GDS swim team in meets, though she will not practice with them.
Ewald’s competitors range in skill level. She said some divers are just trying out the sport while others participate for the Montgomery Dive Club (MDC), a highly competitive team with intense practice schedules. Ewald lies somewhere in between: she participates in a summer league and often takes diving classes in the winter, but she is reluctant to commit to MDC’s serious competitive atmosphere. Thus, besides being the only member of her team, Ewald is at a slight disadvantage to some of her competitors.
“There’s no real way to get serious about diving unless you want to do MDC,” Ewald said.
Although the GDS diving team has faced its share of hurdles, particularly the challenge of keeping the team alive, Ewald remains unfazed. As shown by her repetition of “why not?” Ewald said she is looking forward to the season ahead and is excited to represent GDS, even if she does it alone.
By Abigail Murphy ’20