Liberty’s lone diver Eleanor Brecht dives to state podium

Brooke Ury, Opinion Editor

The word “team” usually refers to a group, but Liberty’s dive team only refers to a single person: junior Eleanor Brecht.

Despite the lack of other divers, Brecht remains confident and optimistic.

“Going down to just me is hard, but I practice with the Skyline and Issaquah divers, so it’s not that bad,” Brecht said. “I think diving is more of an independent sport, so being the only one isn’t really an advantage or disadvantage. I’m only competing against myself.”

But Brecht is not your average diver. Her background in gymnastics as well as her sheer determination allowed her to place eighth at state last year—in her very first year of diving. This year, she moved up to take third place at state, not far behind the second place diver.

“Eleanor understands that when you make a mistake, all is not lost. She doesn’t let it affect her next performance,” swim and dive coach Kris Daughters said. “She over rotated on her front double. She just brushed it off and her next dive was a back double, and it was beautiful. Not all kids have that ability.”

At state, Brecht was able to increase her all-around score from 272.5 to 308.45, a personal goal of hers for this season.

“What motivates me to improve is that whenever I make a mistake, I am determined to work until I don’t make that mistake again,” Brecht said.

Brecht’s superb diving skills, as well as the efforts of the swimmers on the team, make up for the lack of divers. At this year’s state competition, the Liberty girls took home the second place trophy.

It all came down to the last event—the 400 meter freestyle relay. To get the second place, trophy, the Liberty girls had to get 4th place or better, and they were seeded fifth. But after hearing their odds, the team was inspired.

“They swam out of their minds,” Daughters said. “Taylor Clay, in her last swim ever, gave it all she had, and dropped two and a half seconds from the day before.”

In the end, the combined efforts of everyone on Swim and Dive, including the exceptional performance of Brecht, lead to a successful state meet.