CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – What began as summer fun for then 6-year-old Aaron Wald has become a passion.
Wald, a sophomore at Horace Greeley High School, is the 2013 Section 1 boys diving champion. He will compete in the New York State Public High School Swimming and Diving Championships March 1-2 at Webster High School in Rochester.
“I got on the diving board and started doing flips and dives,” recalled Wald of the summer day at Willowbrook Swim and Tennis Club. “The Willowbrook diving coach approached my mom and asked her if I had ever dove before and would be interested in joining the Willowbrook diving team. I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to do it and I was all for it.”
By the age of 12, Wald dedicated himself to diving with year-round training. Originally, he began training three days a week. Then, Wald increased it to five through seven days.
“I wanted to get a lot better so I devoted all of my time to it,” said Wald, who finished second in the section last year.
Following sectionals, Wald raised his training regiment to the next level. He began working with High Dive Champions, based at SUNY-Purchase, undergoing a grueling summer workout both in and out of the pool. Wald also qualified for Nationals last summer, placing 12th in the one-meter event and 13th in the three-meter event.
“Training with a new coach has made me a different person compared to last year,” said Wald of Sergey Meshcherskiy. “He has helped me completely.” Wald found himself tested, mentally, after the first five dives. He was not among the top three, but he did not allow it to affect him.
“I had to remember the little things that make the difference in your dive,” Wald said. “And I said to myself that if you act confident, you will be confident. It was all about keeping a positive mentality.”