Brianna Campbell / Collegian File Photo
Freshman diver Stacey Luke made history her first year in the swimming and diving program taking a spot at the NCAA Diving Zone for the 1-meter dives in Austin, Texas.
Growing up a gymnast, Luke found her way to the pool after a tragic accident that resulted in a stress fracture in her back. She was told that diving would be a good transition and easy on the body.
“My freshman year of high school I switched and I have been doing it ever since because I love it,” Luke said.
Making the transition was a breeze for the former gymnast as she competed in high school and club competitions. Her decision to come to Fresno was late. However, she was excited for the opportunity to dive for an up-and-coming team.
“Since I’m from the Seattle area, we dive indoors. That was a big switch for me. But I really like it, being out in the sun.”
Luke recorded her best score against the ‘Dogs’ rivals, the San Jose Spartans, with a career best score of 265.87.
As a freshman, Luke placed top in her meets and earned a spot at the NCAA Diving Zone competition. She became the first Bulldog since the return of the program to have an opportunity to compete in the zones.
Was the height factor overwhelming in the beginning?
It was really scary when I first started. I said there is no way I am ever going to jump off that. They work you into it and do a lot of basics and training to get you prepared. But I am still scared, but it adds interest and excitement into the sport.
What was it like going from high school to the collegiate level?
It was definitely different because you do different dives. You do easy and hard dives when your in high school, then in college you do just your optionals, which is all of your hard dives. It was different adjusting to the competition and hard dives.
It was definitely a hard adjustment. I think any freshman athlete would tell you that. Just because the college training is so different from high school and training and what they expect of you especially at 6 a.m. I wasn’t use to.
Did you reach your goals your first season as a Bulldog diver?
It was hard to know where my skills were going to fit in the competition that we have in WAC. So, I tried to gauge it off of previous scores when I was making goals for our championships, and I definitely hit my goals at championships. I was excited about that and got a few extra achievements along the way that I hadn’t expected so it was a really good season.
How was the NCAA Championship experience?
It was really intense. It was a great experience. I was kind of taken back, I don’t think I was ready for it. I didn’t know what to expect because I had never been there before. It is definitely a really high level of competition, but it was interesting to see what skill is out there. So, I have so much motivation for next year to get new dives and better dives to improve my own skills so I can be more competitive.
What are some fun things you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have a car so I don’t know. As a team we have done some fun stuff, like go to Millerton and Shaver Lake. I have seen so much of California because I am not from here. It has been fun just visiting different places.