Diver of the Month
16 year old Wallace Layland had quite an exciting summer after competing in her first USA Olympic Team trials. However, her performance at JO Nationals in her first year in 16-18 age group is what makes her YCF’s diver of the month.
Wally is known as one of the top platform divers in the country however she has been focused on developing her springboard events as well. This summer she proved she is a dominant springboard diver by winning the 16-18 3 meter event. Her 3 meter performance was amazing as she put together some of her best dives yet and earned her first springboard national title. In her signature event of platform, Wally earned the bronze medal with another strong performance and the following day was a finalist on the 1m event. Wally is a true competitor having an outstanding JO Nationals!
Grayson is a member of the JO 3 Hot Shots Group and has been diving competitively for the past four years. Grayson had an impressive season last year, competing in the finals for two events at the Speedo Junior National Championships, however, had been plagued with an ankle injury this past fall. Despite her ankle, Grayson continued to work hard at practices and earned a place on the 2012 East National Team. At East Nationals, Grayson dominated her competition winning both the 11 & under girls 1-meter and 3-meter events. This was Grayson’s first set of titles, automatically qualifying her for the Speedo Junior National Championships this summer.
Grayson was chosen as this month’s diver not only for her most recent performances but also for her determination and perseverance through an ankle injury.
JO3 Hot Shot group member, Maggie Merriman, is YCF’s Diver of the Month for March. Maggie was a member of YCF’s 2011 JO National Team where she was a two-time finalist in the 11 & under age-group. This year Maggie has dedicated herself to perfecting her line-up and working on her strength. She has increased the degree of difficulty in her lists for both the 3-meter and platform events, learning an inward 2 1/2 and back twister. Maggie competed in the 12-13 age-group for the first time this year at East Regionals where she qualified (on both 1 and 3-meter) for East Nationals. We look forward to watching Maggie continue to excel throughout the season.
Giovanni is a diver in the JO4 group. Over the past month, G has learn several new difficult dives and has been working very hard to increase his degree of difficultly and prepare for the upcoming Regional meet. Giovanni or “G” as he is known to the team began diving with Team Orlando Diving/YCF Diving when he was 13. Prior to diving, he had been a competitive gymnast for 5 years.
Karly joined us in September of 2011. She was a former member of Sunrise Springboard Diving in Cocoa Beach and decided to train with YCF Diving. She is 11 years old and from Satellite Beach. She is a 5th grader at Holland Elementary school. Karly enjoys music, painting, surfing, and trampoline, but her greatest passion is DIVING! Karly has made it to two AAU Nationals. Since joining the team, Karly has excelled! She has learned over 6 new dives in the past month. She always comes to practice with a huge smile on her face and ready to train. Her goals for her future are to compete in USA Diving and became a great diver and maybe someday represent a college team. But her biggest dream is to compete in the Olympics! We have really enjoyed having Karly as a member of our team and look forward to the 2012 competition season!
Tyler started diving in October of 2010 with no diving experience and has made his way up to the JO4 group. Over the year, he has learned a full 1 meter and 3 meter list and is currently learning a tower list, including 10 meter dives. His dedication to the sport is apparent in his attendance and willingness to learn new dives. This year Tyler competed in Spring Regionals, Summer Regionals, and the Zone competition, gaining more experience along the way. Tyler is also a National Level Trampolinist, placing 3rd at USA Trampoline Nationals this summer, while he was also training for the USA Diving competition season. We are excited to have Tyler as a member of our team and look forward to seeing him continue to grow in this sport. Tyler’s goals are to attend and compete for a Division 1 school.
Divers of the Month:
Rafael Quintero and Wallly Layland
Wally and Rafa at Junior Nationals
17 year old Rafael Quintero came to YCF diving this summer from Puerto Rico in hopes to improve his diving and gain attention from college diving coaches to earn a scholarship. He arrived as a good springboard diver however he did not like the platform event as much. After training with the JO 5 national groups this summer Rafa began dominating his competition. He learned 8 new dives off the 10 meter as well as improving upon his springboard dives. The highlight of Rafa’s summer came at the JO Nationals where he claimed the boys 16-18 platform championship title. Rafa will be traveling to Columbia this month to represent Puerto Rico at the Pan-American Games. In the fall, Rafa has several recruiting trips to vairous colleges who are offering diving scholarships. Ironically after a summer with YCF diving, platform became Rafa’s best and favorite event.
Wallace Layland came into JO Nationals as motivated and determined as ever to take home the national title on the girls 14-15 platform event. In her first competition of the meet, Wally paired with Gracia to win the girls synchronized platform national title. During the competition, Wally pulled her tricep muscle making it difficult for her to hold her hands over her head when entering in the water. With her individual platform event the next day, Wally could barely warm-up for her event due to the pain from her arm. Through her determination, Wally was able to gut it out and perform one of the most impressive performances at JO Nationals. She not only took home the national title of the platform qualifying her to the USA National team that will compete at the Junior Pan-Am Games and a spot in the 2012 Olympic Trials. Unselfishly, Wally competed in the 3 meter event to a 4th place finish in order to help our team’s standings. Congratulations and best of luck to both Wally and Rafa.
Three and a half years ago, Mya Kraeger began her diving career with Central Area Diving team in upstate NY and it didnt take long for her to fall in love with the sport. She quickly showed she had a lot of potential at such a young age and directed her full attention to diving. Her dream is to earn a full scholarship to a Division I university and to become a member of the USA Olympic Diving Team.
Mya dives along side her twin sister Emma, who also proved to have a future in diving, and after seeing their hardwork and dedication their parents decide to sacrifice everything and move to Orlando to give the girls the best training opportunities. Mya has worked extremely hard since moving to Orlando and this past April her hard work paid off as she earned a silver medal on 3m and a 6th place finish on 1m at the East National Championships in the 12-13 age group. The following weekend Mya competed in the 1m and platform events at the YMCA National Championships and earned two national titles. Based on these strong results, Mya has pre-quallified herself to the Junior National Championships this summer.
Mya’s hard work and intensity at practices have led her to establish herself as one of the top 12-13 female divers in the country. When she does make time outside of diving, Mya enjoys basketball, scrapbooking, and Broadway shows. We look forward to seeing BIG things in Mya’s future!