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News Office Blog - Stringers
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massachusetts institute of technology

Guest Blogger: Doria Holbrook

MIT news

blog

The End


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Well, it was quite the competition.  I ended up 20th on 3 meter and 22nd on one meter.  Even though I didn’t get into the semi-finals, I was so close on both boards.  The difference between 8th and 20th on 3 meter was 10 points, which is so little.  It was amazing to be in a competition where for the first time, I really felt like I deserved to be there.  It was such a great meet. 

I guess this means the end to my blogging as my Olympic hopefuls are over for this year, but by no means is diving over for me.  There were two masters divers at this meet, one in his forties and one in his fifties who were still diving at the level that I am today.  Just one more example that my career is by no means over.  I am going to keep at it and see what happens with summer nationals.  I’m just not quite ready to give it up. 

 Thanks for being a part of my adventure.  I hope that you have enjoyed following along just a little bit.  Take care!

U.S. Nationals is coming


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I have been really bad about blogging…. sorry.  Anyways, I leave on Saturday for the U.S. Spring Nationals meet and I am more nervous than ever.  Training has been going really well, although doing it by myself has been a bit of a challenge.  I have definitely been struggling with ganors.  I haven’t been able to just relax and go after them.   It’s a confidence thing.  Hopefully, things will come together by the end of this week. 

I compete on Monday.  One meter first and then three meter.  Five dives on each board.  On one meter, there are 17 open spots in semi-finals and 48 girls competing.  On three meter, it’s worse-11 spots and 54 divers.  There are 24 divers in semi-finals, some of those spots, though, are already taken by pre-qualified women.  So, provided everything goes well, I’ll be amongst those top 24 women in the country.  That is truly my goal.  At the semi-finals, 8 women on 1 meter go on to finals and 12 women on 3 meter.  The top 8 women from the finals event in 3 meter qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. 

This is what it all comes down to.  Well, not really.  This meet is by no means the end of my career.  I’ll dive as long as I possible can.  Who knows, maybe I will qualify and do well at the U.S. Summer Nationals, only time will tell.  Wish me luck!

NCAA 3m. Finals


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I put it all on the boards last night.  I literally threw every dive without fear and with everything that I had.  Unfortunately, freak accidents happen.  I was on track to winning the meet and breaking the National record until my knees buckled during my fourth dive.  From a stand, without a jump, I had to throw a reverse 2.5 somersault-nearly impossible.  I threw as hard as could and waited and waited until the dive came around, trying to salvage anything I had left.  I got 3.5’s on the dive.  It would have taken 5.5’s and 6’s to win the meet. 

These things happen.  I didn’t do anything wrong.  My knees just gave at the bottom of my press.  The same thing that happened and caused me to hit the board.  The weird thing, though, is that I am okay with it.  I’m okay with how everything came out, because I held nothing back.

 I ended up fourth in the meet.  It was the closest meet the NCAA has ever seen in diving and I can tell you, it was truly amazing.  Kendall won the meet and broke the national record.  She was named Diver of the Year and our coach, Brad, was named Coach of the Year.  As I saw them standing on the podium, I was a mixed state of proud and utterly dissappointed.  The selfish part of me wanted to be up there with Brad and the teammate in me was so proud of Kendall.  She had a fantastic meet and she deserved that recognition. 

So fourth it is.  I’m an 8 time All American and that certainly isn’t anything to be ashamed of.  My lowest finish at the NCAA’s has been fourth and I have had the honor of being a champion twice.  All of those things, I will never forget! 

NCAA 3m. Prelims


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Well, it went pretty well.  My optional dives yesterday were so so, but enough to get me in first place.  The good thing about that is that I can only move up!  My voluntary dives today didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped.  I still won preliminaries, but am third going into tonights final.  Kendall is in first, by 10 points and Erica Deur is in second, by 4 points.  

Last year, I was 18 points down going into finals and managed to win the meet, so I have a lot of confidence that I can do that again.  I realized yesterday that I wanted to win so badly that I ultimately made it impossible to relax and just dive.  In order to do well, I have to give myself the liberty of failing.  I have to be able to take risks. 

Tonight, I am not going to watch the scoreboard or listen to the points.  I am just going to dive.  One dive at a time and I am going to go big.  I realize that I run the risk of missing big, but it’s only one meet in my diving career and ultimately doesn’t define my success as a diver.  Tonight is my last meet as a collegiate diver and I want to be in the moment and enjoy all of it.  No matter what happens, I want to know that I left it all on the boards and truly did the best that I could.  I’ll post after the meet, so wish me luck! 

NCAA Finals


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I got third.  I am not even ready to deal with the dissappointment.  Tomorrow is a new day.  3 meter is a new event. 

NCAA 1m. Prelims


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I made it through prelims.  It was a long afternoon with almost 3.5 hours of competing and 1.5 hours of warming up, etc.  I am happy to report, though, that I am in a great position going into tonight’s finals.  I ended up second after preliminaries and once they drop the optionals score, I will be in third.  You might be asking me why I would want to be second instead of first.  Well, the pressure.  I have been first going into finals every year, but when it comes to finals, I have been 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, but never have I won.  So, I see this as an opportunity for me to get out there and really compete tonight. 

I am also excited because my prelims wasn’t spectacular.  I didn’t really hit much of anything.  I like it that way because it means that I have so much room for improvement and the only way to go is up.  I really can’t wait for tonight.  I actually leave in 45 minutes and need to get a nap in before I go, but I guess I’ll tell you a little more about prelims. 

It was so nerve racking and my nerves got the best of me.  I held back on some dives that I just needed to be aggressive on and that’s my goal for tonight.  I don’t care how anyone else does; I only care about me tonight.  I know how full of myself I sound, but it’s the only way for me to committ to being focused and get ready to do my best.  I need to think, know, believe that I am the best tonight.  I have been so close to this title so many times and I just want it.  I have worked so hard this season and I am ready to put in the pool and dive my heart out.  I want to be this year’s champion. 

Wish me luck and stay posted!

NCAA’s Day 1


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I only have about 5 minutes before I head to the pool for warm ups, but I wanted to quickly fill you in.  I am at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio competing in my fourth and final NCAA National Championships.  I am excited and nervous.  I have already been to the pool for a quick touch on the boards, but am heading back to have my scheduled warm ups.  The actual competition starts at 1:30. 

I will do all 11 dives on 1 meter today.  After preliminaries, the top 8 divers will return to repeat their 6 optional dives.  The optional scores for the morning session are dropped and the combination of tonight’s 6 ops and this mornings 5 voluntaries make up the total score.  The person with the highest points win. 

 For me, step one is getting into finals.  All my energy will be focused on staying calm and composed.  One dive at a time.  It’s going to be one heck of a weekend and I can’t wait to get started. 

I’ll post after prelims and finals, so check in later today to find out what happens!

Board (1pt) Doria (0pt)


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I hit the board last Tuesday. It was kind of a freak accident. I was just warming up and doing some front hurdles. It was all pretty standard-the same thing that I do every single day. Tuesday, though, I was just a little more fatigued than usual. I could feel the lactic acid in my muscles, the dull ache in my back, and the general hazy tiredness well-known to MIT students. The combination of physical and mental exhaustion caused my knees to buckle at the bottom of my press. Here I am, a mass sitting on top of a loaded spring unable to move. As you can imagine, the spring unloaded tossing my body back up into the air. I didn’t have enough forward momentum, though, to get me out over the water, so I had to put my feet back on the board. My center of mass was right on the line coming up from the tip. As the board unloaded a second time, I was like the stick with a force being applied to one end. As the board started flipping me over, my shins and my feet had not yet traveled out over the water. As a result, I took a nice clip to the shins and slid down the board, getting cut up on the way, until I was tossed completely over onto my back in the water.

Needless to say, the smack was definitely a bit of a sting, but the sand paper on the board had left my shins and feet with board burn. Blood poured out and ran down my legs as I sat shivering on the deck. It just happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to take it all in. My legs were green and yellow and the cuts were a bright red.

The lifeguards started bandaging me up and the trainers checked out my legs to make sure there were no breaks. Thankfully, everything was fine and I just needed some gauze and ice. The freak accident has kind of startled me, but I have spent the week building my confidence back up.

I leave for nationals tomorrow and the scabs are starting to heal on my legs. It seems that everything is going to work out fine. My skin is still on the board-I haven’t had time to scrub it off yet, but maybe next week. Stay tuned for the nationals update. I’m going to try to write to you everyday while I am gone so that you can follow the play by play and the emotional roller coaster that I am about to hop on. Wish me luck and stay tuned!

A Herculian Conclusion


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I did it. I won the 3 meter competition for the NEWMAC conference, but it wasn’t just a win. I won by over 60 points to someone who has been top 5 at nationals every time she has gone. I can’t even believe it-I’m still in shock. Diving this weekend could not have been any more perfect. I concluded my career in the NEWMAC with the best performance of my career so far. I have never dove the way that I did on Sunday night.

I was aggressive on everything. I conscientiously made a decision that if I was going to make a mistake it would be a big mistake. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t afraid of making a mistake. I embraced the thought. This mental attitude made all the difference. I went big for everything and I hit it big.

The most memorable dive of the evening was my reverse two and half somersault. I hurdled big. I jumped as high as I could and threw my arms so aggressively it scared me a little. Then, I waited. I saw the water once, twice and then kicked out. I reached so hard for the water. I was tight, reaching for the bottom of the pool, ready to rip and then I did. There was not a splash. It was textbook rip. The judges rewarded me with 8.5’s and a 9. I scored 71 points on that one dive. I typically average around 50. It was such a huge moment and at that point, I knew that I had won the meet.

I finished up my last two dives and had an amazing finish. I broke the NEWMAC, pool and MIT records. It’s a record that won’t be broken for a very long time and I would love to watch the competition of whoever does. I’m so proud and excited at my performance. It’s such an amazing end to the NEWMAC conference and an even bigger boost of confidence going into Nationals.

NEWMACs


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Well, I made it through prelims! I have never dove like I did today. It was unbelievable. I’m still on cloud 9. I had to come back from yesterdays six point deficient, which is not a lot, but I prefer to be ahead. I am now 16 points ahead of Smith’s Shanti Freitas going into the finals. I had a record breaking performance this afternoon as I set the NEWMAC record, MIT record, and my own personal best at 538 and some change. I can’t believe that it all came together.

I was so nervous going into this mornings preliminaries and the edge never subsided until I hit the water on that last dive. One dive after the next, I continued to jump high, land on my head, and rip. The lowest score that I got today was a 7 which is phenomenal in college diving. I even managed to get 9’s three times throughout the course of the competition. It was just one of those days where everything came together. I was aggressive and consistent. I wanted it and I did everything that I could to get that finish.

While this mornings performance puts me in a great place, I still have quite the competition ahead of me tonight. Shanti is a tough competitor and it’s going to take my best to come out on top. I’m confident and want to leave everything in the pool tonight. Never before have I felt such competition. I can’t wait to see what happens.

I will be confident. I will be aggressive. I will compete through the last dive.