Parson perseveres to diving success


Abby Parson

Parson approaches the tip of the board to practice her dive for the upcoming meet.

Margaret Stanley, Freelance writer

Senior diver Abby Parson steps onto the back of the board, taking a deep breath over the silent crowd. Under the watch of three judges, she follows her step sequence to the tip of the board, springs into the air, and twists into the diving well without making a splash. Parson emerges from the water to hear cheering from her coaches and teammates, marking one of many successful moments in her diving career.

Parson began to pursue diving her sophomore year on the DGS dive team. She also participated in gymnastics since she was a toddler, but she recently decided to only focus on diving.

In her first two seasons as a diver, Parson had numerous accomplishments on the board — especially at the major meets.

“I got second in conference both sophomore year and junior year, and then I placed 8th in sectionals last year,” Parson said.

Parson has also made a splash this season by earning Athlete of the Week at DGS and receiving her lifetime best score of 213.05 for six dives.

Despite the moments of success, Parson has been faced with injury multiple times in the last three years. She was temporarily out of diving due to issues with her back last year, and she experienced an ankle injury for a portion of this season.

Coach Elizabeth Lukes has noticed and admired Parson’s perseverance through her injuries.

“She has healed from her injuries and has not let them scare her from continuing with dives and athletics. A few of her injuries, from other sports and diving, could have been career ending for her mentally and physically. She did not let these injuries stop her from continuing and achieving her goals,” Lukes said.

Lukes recounts a moment of bravery after Parson injured herself on a dive called the inward 1 1/2ss.

“I was unsure if she would ever want to attempt it again. She came to me this season and asked if she could try it; not only did she try the dive, but she has successfully completed it all season. I couldn’t be more proud of her courage and perseverance,” Lukes said.

Although this combination of adversity and success has contributed to Parson’s growth as a diver, Lukes has also observed a change in her mindset that has led to her improvement.

“Abby has always taken diving seriously, but she has grown more critical of her dives in her senior year. Many people think being critical might be something negative, however, for Abby it has definitely been a positive. It has definitely paid off, in the sense that she has made so much growth in the sport,” Lukes said.

The success that Parson has achieved as a result of this mental approach has been a source of her motivation this season.

“Getting those higher difficulty dives is more mental than physical, and that feeling of accomplishment when you’re finally able to do it and you get a good score on a dive definitely is a big part of what keeps me going,” Parson said.

Parson does not plan to continue with the sport in college, but she is far from leaving it behind. She will continue to dive for fun, and she may help coach during the summer.

The next dive meet is sectionals at DGN on Oct. 29.