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First person: Swimmer/diver Travis Adams

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By Laura Clark

Rocket senior Travis Adams will be competing in the 1-meter diving event Saturday and 100 breaststroke today in the Region 3 meet. Adams won the regional diving meet as an eighth grader, and has since competed in four state meets, placing 24th, 23rd, 19th and 19th.

He’s been a diver for seven years. This year was his first to swim.

  On getting into swimming:

I had a stress fracture late in the cross-country season, and ended up having to do non-impact sports. After winter break, I decided I wanted to get back on the board. I couldn’t miss out my senior year.

I got in the pool and started swimming because its low resistance, and that’s what the orthopedist said to do. I was in a boot for six weeks.

I never wanted to swim. I always wanted to focus on diving, so it’s kind of ironic that this year I’m in the pool swimming and that’s all I could do.

  On his rookie swimming season:

I have zero technique when it comes to swimming, because I never swam. The first couple weeks I came early, and he [coach J.P. LaVertu] worked with me on flip turns and stuff. It’s been difficult to find a technique.

When I was out during cross country season, I lost a bit of conditioning. Once I got in the pool, the breathing killed me. I kept telling coach, “I want to swim breast.” Finally he put me in it, and I’ve been swimming it ever since. I was like, “I told you.”

No flip turns, and I need to breath.

I probably won’t make finals. I’d have to drop 10 seconds. I don’t foresee that happening.

  On the differences between swimming and diving:

Diving is a completely mental sport. If you don’t have the mental capacity to do it, you might as well count it out. It’s so much body control that has to go on in your mind, and you have to block out everything.

That’s the thing about swimming, you get in, do the laps, and ham it up with the guys. It’s that team atmosphere that I’ve enjoyed.

  On how swimming has helped diving:

But it’s really helped me out a lot with strengthening my upper body. All my diving career I’ve been underweight, I guess. I’ve been really skinny. But now I’ve put on some muscle mass.

  On his best dive:

We call it ‘the magic trick,’ because no one ever does it. I do an inward flip with a full twist. That’s become my favorite dive.

I really wish I had two more weeks of practice, because a week and a half ago I did a front somersault with a double twist. I was going crazy. I was ecstatic over it.

But when it comes down to it point-wise, if I get 8s or 9s on my front flip with a full instead of my front flip with a double getting 5 1/2s or 4 1/2s, it’s a fine line on whether to do it or not. I don’t feel like I’m consistent with it enough to perform it at regionals.

  On how his dives have changed:

I used to do a lot of straight [form]. When I went to Louisville [to train] they got me into tuck. Now coach Sarah [Adkins] is trying to get me to do pike. It’s been weird the way I’ve adjusted to a lot of things.

I’ve really become a twister, I think. Last year, we were really pushing to do a 1½ with a full twist for regionals. I feel like I’ve got enough height this year with the added weight and muscle mass. But with the crunch time that we’re in it’s not feasible.

A lot of my diving has been finesse, very graceful off the board. That’s what’s scored me the points. But when you get to state, people have finesse and DD [degree of difficulty for certain dives]. You have to live with what you have.

  On adjusting goals:

It’s been really hard, because I’m a perfectionist. I set out to really have fun this year. I know where I was last year, so I’m going to do what I can to get there. It’s been really hard because I want to be so sharp and make my entries so clean.

Sarah said, “Remember what you said at the beginning, you want to have fun. Don’t kill yourself over this. You’ve had your stress fracture injury and you can’t help that.”

  On the dive he dreads:

I had some bad experiences with reverses. Last year I was throwing a reverse double, and I almost broke my nose with my knee. I’ve always had an inner fear of reverses, because it’s a blind dive. I know where I’m going but you can’t spot it as well as you can others. I don’t like coming back towards the board.

  On after graduation:

My first college choice doesn’t have a dive team. The Centre coach has contacted me about coming down to talk about the dive team. Centre’s my first choice instate. I also know some people with the Kentucky team that said I could possibly walk on.

Centre’s my first choice though. Why not? I think it would give me the opportunity to advance what I have. But I want to get involved in student government and service organizations and really get involved with campus that way, and I don’t know if diving would take so much of my time that I couldn’t handle that and school at the same time. That’s the only thing I’m going to really have to look at.