Athlete of the Issue: Olivia King ’19


Nicholas Lorentzen ’20

Olivia King ’19 performs a back 1 and 1/2 twister in Hixon Pool.

Olivia King ’19 is a three-year Senior and co-captain of the Girls Varsity Swimming and Diving Team. Eden Oostenink ’20 said, “Olivia has not only contributed some of the highest scores we’ve seen in a long time, but also helped every single one of her teammates be the best they can possibly be. She never stops trying to get better, and she doesn’t care how many times she smacks the water, so long as she eventually gets it right.”

Why did you start diving?

I actually started diving because I was a gymnast for 12 years of my life, and then I got injured. I could no longer take the impact on my body from gymnastics, so I quit and I switched to diving. Switching to diving was really great for me, because it was all of the parts of gymnastics that I loved without the really bad impact.

What is your favorite part about diving at Hotchkiss?

I think it’s when my friends come to watch me dive and say, “You were so good! How do you do that?” It makes me realize how unique diving is and how amazing an opportunity it is to be able do it at a high school level like this.

What are diving practices like?

At typical diving practices, we do about fifteen minutes of dry-land training before we get into the water. A lot of that is basic strength and conditioning, a lot of stretching, and getting your muscles warmed up. Then we do about ten minutes of basics, like front [and] back approaches. We try to get the most basic things down so that we can build up to harder dives and so that the harder dives look better. If it’s a week before a big meet, we’ll normally write out a list of six dives we are going to do at that meet, and from there it’s just repetition – working on making those six dives as good as we can. Numbers are super-important in diving, because a lot of diving is just muscle memory, so you have to keep doing it over and over again until your muscles know what to do.

What do you do to help you accomplish a difficult dive?

My thought process is a little different [from] a lot of other divers because of doing gymnastics for so long. I have absolutely no fear of getting hurt. When I’m gearing up to do a new dive, I normally just say, if I try and throw this as hard as I can and I make it, I can go from there and make it cleaner. I’m always the kid [who] throws the hardest dive they think they can do, and then I work from there.

What are some of your hopes for the diving team this year?

I just want us all to go to Founders and New Englands, and we’re already doing very well. Meera Kasturi ’22 has already broken two records. I just want the team to keep growing and developing.

Describe your best diving experience.

My best [experience] was probably winning Founders last year. As a diver, I’m very uptight, and I get very, very nervous easily. Throughout the competition, I was head-to-head with a girl from Choate. Every single dive it would either be me a couple of points in front of her or her a couple points in front of me. Coming into the last round, I knew that I had to just give it my all and put everything out there. Once I got out of the water, I realized that I had won Founders!

Do you have any unique pre-game traditions?

I’m super superstitious, so I have to wear the same pair of nasty, old, white, beat up, Vans to every meet. Also, I wear this Patagonia [sweater] I got during my Lower Mid year that has a bunch of wave patterns on it. I [always] have to put the little towel that we use to dry off in-between dives on a specific spot on the board before I get up to do a dive. There are a lot of weird things that a lot of people wouldn’t notice but are so important to me.

How has the team changed since you first started diving here?

A lot of what diving at Hotchkiss was [when I arrived was] a sport that kids had never done [before], and they just wanted to try out for fun. However, after I came, we got Meera as another recruit, and [now] we’re pretty often having recruits come to [watch our] practice[s]. We’ve definitely gotten way better as a program over the past couple of years, which is really cool to see.

Are you going to continue diving in college?

I am diving in college. I was contacted recently by the coach [of Washington University in St. Louis] and she told me, “We’d love to offer you a spot on the team for next year!” That was really amazing.