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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Diving for gold: Arizona diver Delaney Schnell prepares for her first Olympic Games

Griffin Riley
Before the start of the first meet, the swimmers take their positions on the block, waiting for the whistle.

With the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, just weeks away, Team USA’s roster is starting to take shape. Now that the trials are over, the training begins for the world’s largest athletic competition. 

The University of Arizona is no stranger to the Olympic Games, as the university has sent several athletes to the Olympics who won 35 gold, 24 silver and 14 bronze medals. 

Many Wildcats will be at these games in various sports, but a spotlight shines bright on diver Delaney Schnell. Schnell will be competing in both the 10m dive and synchronized dive. Schnell won both events at the trials in Indianapolis, Indiana, which means she is the best female diver in the country. Expectations will be high for Schnell in Tokyo, but now the Tucson native said she is trying to enjoy the fact she is an Olympian.

“It feels really cool,” Schnell said. “A lot of emotions are running through [my mind] and it still has not become real. Knowing that I am going to compete against a lot of divers that I have competed against before is exciting, and it reminds me that I have a really good shot at performing really well and hopefully getting on that podium.” 

Schnell has competed at a national level since she was 12 years old, but this will be her first time competing at the Olympic Games. 

“I have watched the Olympics since I was a little kid,” Schnell said. “I have dreamed of being on that stage since I was four years old. I have watched Michael Phelps and Simone Biles … and knowing that I get to be a part of that now is amazing.”

A lot of pressure comes with being an Olympic athlete. National pride is on the line, fans from around the world are watching you and one tiny mistake is the difference between a gold medal and going home empty-handed. For Schnell, the pressure began long before the Olympics. 

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“Leading up to trials was one of the most stressful points in my life,” Schnell said. “Those last two months preparing were not only physically challenging but mentally challenging. That is an understatement. Leading up to trials I did not feel fully prepared, but at this point I stand in my own way.”

Schnell said she wants to enjoy herself while she is in Tokyo, but she is still focused on the goal of standing on the podium with a medal around her neck while the national anthem plays. 

“I am really excited to meet some athletes from other sports,” Schnell said. “I am also really excited about competing. That is what we are there for, to bring back some hardware. I have a really good chance at doing that, and I am looking forward to stepping on the platform for the first time.” 

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will begin with opening ceremonies at Olympic Stadium on Friday, July 23, in Tokyo, Japan, on NBC. 

Follow Sean Fagan on Twitter 

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