Athlete of the Week Archive

Jan. 20, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -




Ginni van Katwijk


How long have you been diving?
"I started diving when I turned 15. My mom is a swimming teacher and she works in a pool with wooden diving boards where I kind of taught myself. I had to travel a long ways, but I started practicing once a week and within two years I was on the national team. I was a gymnast first so I've always been able to do flips, but I watched the Olympics and thought "Wow, I want to do that." I taught myself a front two and a half in a wet suit so it wouldn't hurt if I smacked."

Do you have any other hobbies?
"Definitely taking naps, and I enjoy watching gymnastics on TV. I've also set a goal for myself to get a 4.0 GPA. I've almost made a game with myself. I got a 4.0 last semester and was really excited about that."

How did you end up coming to Wyoming from Holland?
"I applied to several other schools, one of which was Minnesota, where Ben, our diving coach is from. They did not have room for me, but their coach gave my name to Ben and he had a scholarship for me here. I didn't even know how to pronounce Wyoming, and had only ever been to Miami in the United States. I had been living in England for two years and had only been diving, and not going to school or anything. So I was kind of going crazy, and really needed to do some schoolwork or something else. There really is no such thing as a combination of sports and school where I'm from, so the United States was the best option. UW offered me a full ride so I started in January of last year. I need to be busy to perform well, so my mental state of mind is much better here."

How is international diving different than diving at the university level in the United States?
"The scoring is much different. In dual meets here there are only two judges and they are the two coaches. Only when you get to bigger meets do you see more judges. Also, the scores here seem to be much higher, and men and women dive at the same time which is different than I'm used to."

What does a typical day look like for you as a UW diver?
"We normally have early practice, then maybe a nap. That's very important! Then class and then three days a week we have weights in the afternoon. I also have a night class."

What is your major?
"Well, I was an art major, but that was mainly so I could take some art classes. Now it looks like I'll probably major in social science, but I haven't really made that decision. I really wanted to be a sports marketing major, but that is not offered here and most of the marketing classes you can't take until you're a junior. So right now I'm taking all the basics and the requirements that everyone has to take."

How do you prepare for a meet?
"The day before I try and lie in bed and do all my dives in my head. If it's a pretty important meet then you've probably already been in the pool that day for practice and you know the environment. So that makes it easier to do the dives in your head in that pool. The day of the meet I mostly just listen to music and keep to myself. I do not talk to other people during the meet. That drives me crazy. I really just like to get into my routine and sit by myself."

Have you ever had a bad accident on the boards?
"I've hit my head, although I didn't realize it, and my hand and my foot on the board during dives. But it's really not that big of a deal. Some are more scared of it than others. Landing flat happens to everyone. When you get lost in twists that's the most scary thing, beacuse you don't know where the water's going to hit you."

What are your goals for this year?
"I feel like I can improve on my finishes from last year, especially at the Zone meet. I also feel like I peaked too early last year, so hopefully we can change that this season."