Friday Jul 31 2009
Diving from a national platform
By: Robbie Enos, Special to Gold Country News Service
Whitney High’s Hannah Prigge has taken her diving to a whole new platform
Perhaps it is due to the lack of facilities in the region, but Placer County is not known for producing top performers in the often-overlooked sport of platform diving. Yet, despite the low profile nature of her chosen specialty, Whitney High diver Hannah Prigge competed for a national championship Saturday in Georgia. Competing in the 16-18 age group at the H-Group Platform Nationals, Prigge finished 12th among 22 divers. After qualifying for the regional finals, Prigge went on to the national qualifiers, where she earned a place in the top 12 and a spot in Saturday’s national competition. It takes a lot out of someone to master the art of platform diving. These daredevil athletes jump from platforms high above the pool, crashing into the water at 37.5 miles per hour. But that doesn’t stop Prigge, 17, from competing and achieving excellence in this little-known sport. Prigge has been involved with platform diving for just two years. She began after trying the sport down in Santa Clara. She later met local diving coach Mike Brown, who since has helped her become a local prodigy. Probably the most amazing part about all of her achievements is that she has made the national stage while doing most of her training outside the pool. There are no diving platforms in Placer County, nor are there any in the greater Sacramento area. Since the closest diving platforms are located at Stanford University and in Santa Clara, Brown trains Prigge largely at an indoor facility in Rocklin - American Powerhouse Tumbling and Trampolines - to prepare for her competitions. She trains between 12 and 14 hours per week, and varies from intense acrobatics and rigorous strength training to pool conditioning. Heading into the national competition, Prigge was calm and confident. She talked about wanting to “relax and have fun” and said, “I just want to hit every dive really clean and solid. I don’t really care about the score.” Her signature dive is a front three-and-a-half, where she flips three times in the air and then lands with a dive in the water. Brown explained the difficulty of the dive. “You have to figure out, with little assistance form the coach, when you have finished that third somersault and start looking for the water,” Brown said. “All this while you are dropping at 37.5 miles per hour, plus the force of your rotation. If you make a mistake, the impact is worse than 37.5 miles per hour.” Prigge, who will start her senior year later this month, has big goals for her future, which include earning a scholarship for platform diving to a college. She is already on the radar with San Jose State as a top possible recruit. She also shows interest in the University of Kansas and University of Missouri. She earned a recruitment trip to Kansas while at the national championships.