Two provincial diving records are now history thanks to locally-connected diver Molly Carlson.
Carlson, who competes for the Thunder Bay Diving Club, shattered the records at the 2010 Ontario Provincial Diving Championships in Ottawa from May 28-30.
Carlson, who was born here but moved to Thunder Bay at a young age, set new marks in the platform competition with 299.90 points and the 3m event with 347.85 points.
The 11-year-old also placed second in the 1m event with 273.00 points.
“I was excited and I was proud of myself,” Carlson enthused.
“I learned a few new dives, and they went really well, in my opinion, so I think that made me more confident to get my other dives,” she remarked.
“Then I broke the record and I felt really happy.”
Coach Mike Lang said Carlson was able to improve her performance on the final day of competition, which she had struggled with in the past.
“Usually, Molly has it in her head that her last day is her worst day because she’s tired,” he noted.
“This time, it was the opposite. It was her strongest day.”
All three results qualified Carlson for the national showdown, which is slated July 8-11 in Winnipeg.
Carlson said while she’s excited to go again, she’s just as happy that she’ll have some extra company since three teammates also will be making the trip.
“We’ve never had more than two people, and I’m excited because it’s my first year in Group ‘C’ and I thought provincials went over well, which built my confidence, so now I’m excited for nationals.”
Lang credited Carlson with helping out the younger divers, and felt her effort in working with them was part of Thunder Bay’s impressive provincial performance.
“Molly took a real leadership role with the kids,” he lauded. “For an 11-year-old to take on the responsibility of being a leader for 14 others was pretty awesome.
“The whole team did really well,” Lang added. “It was a great provincials for us, and now we’re going to the nationals with four divers.”
Rounding out the honours for Carlson, she also was named the Most Outstanding Ontario Group ‘C’ (born in 1998 or 1997) female diver for 2010.
Being in the younger category, Carlson was especially proud of earning the honour in her first year in the division.
“It felt really awesome because normally when you start a new group, you’re nervous that people are going to beat you,” she reasoned.
“But then I was the top diver, and then I felt really good and proud.”
She added diving has taught her to surpass fears and obstacles, although there are some greater heights that await her as she progresses with the sport.
“My favourite thing about diving is being challenged and overcoming your fears, and having the feeling that you’ve done something amazing,” Carlson enthused.
“The 10m is pretty scary,” she admitted. “I haven’t starting diving off that yet, but jumping’s pretty cool.”
Lang also was impressed with how Carlson has toughened mentally, especially in comparison to other girls her age.
“Diving’s the kind of sport where it’s really scary, and so for a nine-, 10-, 11-year-old to be doing the things she’s doing has been really hard for her to overcome,” he explained.
“Most of the girls her age are playing with dolls . . . she’s up there spinning and twisting and smacking, and doing really well.”
Lang also felt Carlson should only improve as she continues to develop.
“She’s had to overcome a lot of the self-doubt and a lot of mental hurdles, which she’s been successful, for the most part, in doing,” he noted.
“She’s not going to reach the mental acuity until she’s about 16 or 18 years old, but for her age, she’s been doing a great job right now.”