Junior breaks diving record, qualifies for state tournament

Fatou M'Baye

Junior Anya Ferner is having an amazing season on the RHS swim and dive team. At the Perry Invitational a few weeks ago, she broke the school record for an 11 dive event. The previous record had been somewhere in the 340s; Ferner received a score of 414.90. To add on to her success, Ferner qualified for states at the OHSAA district meet a couple of weeks later. 

“I am so proud that I broke the RHS diving record,” Ferner told the Colonel. “I can remember last year looking at the record board, specifically at the boys record, and thinking that I’d NEVER get a score that high- and now I’ve even beat the boys record, it feels unreal. I feel as though I’ve honored my younger self by working hard and reaching goals she never thought were attainable.”

Ferner has been diving for a little over two years, and has been with her club team, American Flyers Diving, for one year. “That was what really prompted my growth as an athlete between last year and this year,” she explained. “I owe ALL of my success this year to my coaches and team at AFD and I am extremely grateful for their support. Club diving has been a bright spot in my life, especially since Covid hit.” 

She says that her many years of training as a gymnast also made her a better diver. “My background in gymnastics helped me a ton in the beginning of my career. It was helpful that I was already strong and knew how to flip. Later on it became a small problem because it was harder for me to learn how to dive to my head.”

“I have a few favorite things about diving,” said Ferner. “One would have to be the feeling I get after nailing a scary dive in a competition or just doing well overall in a competition. It is just pure joy because I know my hard work has paid off, and it is so special that I can share that feeling with my coaches and teammates. I also just like how it is an individual sport but it never feels like it. I always know I have my teams cheering me on and I have never once felt alone while diving. I also will treasure my bonds with some of the RHS swimmers.”

The tight-knit community on the swim and dive team has been super supportive of Anya this season. “One thing unique to diving is that all of my competitors are more importantly my friends,” she said. “It is the most heartwarming feeling when I get up on the board to compete a dive and I can hear girls cheering for me from all different schools and even club teams. The way most of us want each other to succeed is so special to me.”

Ferner would describe this season as very fun, albeit different due to Covid-19. “I’m a little sad that we didn’t have many opportunities for team bonding and that I didn’t get to be there for the freshmen as much as I would have liked to,” she admitted. “I did get to get really close with the other divers on the team. That was one of the highlights of my season.”

Despite some challenges due to this unique year, this season has been filled with achievements. “I had two goals for this season,” Ferner explained. “One was to break the school record, and the other was to make it to state. I accomplished both of those! Even if I get cut first round at the state meet, I won’t be too upset. I am just grateful to be among 24 of the best division 1 divers in the state of Ohio.”

She has even more to look forward to after the winter season is over. “After high school season is when the fun really begins,” Ferner said. “I am excited to compete 3 meter springboard and platform in the spring. 3 meter is my favorite event to practice so I am looking forward to it the most.”

The state diving tournament will take place at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton between February 24th-27th. 


photo by Dr. Roebke