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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

Diver Flies into Senior Season

    Photo courtesy of Nico Santiago
    Nico Santiago performs a successful dive during senior night against Tampa Prep on October 6.

       As the 2018 Regional Championship progressed, seventh grader Nico Santiago found himself one dive away from advancing to the state meet. As Santiago stepped onto the diving board, he felt the nerves rush through his body. He took a deep breath, pushed off the board and flew through the air, performing a back 1.5 somersault with 0.5 twist successfully. The dive propelled Santiago to a 2nd place finish and a guaranteed spot at states, where he later placed in the top ten. Five years later, Santiago is now a senior and one of the best divers in the state of Florida.

       Growing up, Santiago was a gymnast for five years before making the transition to diving in seventh grade. The shift from gymnastics to diving was natural for Santiago, as the two sports were very similar in an aerodynamic sense. 

       “I think my gymnastics background helped me a lot in terms of the air awareness aspect of diving, as well as being able to do more difficult dives right off the bat,” Santiago said. “It was a pretty easy transition for me to take my skills from gymnastics and apply them to diving, but at the same time, there are a lot of habits that you pick up in gymnastics that don’t necessarily work out in diving, so it was a lot of learning as well.”

       Gymnastics provided a good foundation for Santiago, but what took him to the next level was his determination to get better. Beyond diving at school, Santiago practices five times a week at the Orlando Dive Academy among other skilled divers in the area. 

       While competing for Trinity, Santiago has individually placed in the top five at states for the past three years, earning fourth place as a freshman, fifth place as a sophomore, and third place as a junior. In her first year as   Trinity diving head coach, Kristy Nave was not only impressed with Santiago’s athleticism, but also his down-to-earth attitude and leadership.

       “I could tell from day one coaching Nico that he was going to be successful in not only diving but out of the pool as well,” Nave said. “His calm demeanor and quiet confidence is contagious to those around him.  He is a humble athlete that doesn’t let his many successes prevent him from driving and working to become successful.”

       When first joining the Trinity diving program, Santiago was the only competitor on the team. Because of this, he had to learn over 11 different dives in order to qualify for events. Learning a variety of dives has significantly helped Santiago in competition, as he has the ability to switch up his routine at any moment. According to Nave, Santiago doesn’t settle with one set list of dives, but rather works on improving each dive in order to always put forth his best.

       “Nico has a great balance between constantly improving on his overall details within each dive and having the courage to throw new dives in different positions,” Nave said. “I think the will to always constantly improve on a daily basis is what makes him stand out from another athlete that may be OK with just performing the same dive list with little variation or will to change.”

       Diving is not only a sport for Santiago, but a distraction from everyday stresses. What he loves about the sport is how it allows him to take a step away from everyday life and focus on the present.

       “I really like how it’s kind of an outlet for me,” Santiago said. “In the sense that if I’m stressed about anything like school or extracurriculars, when I’m at diving practice, my mind is completely off that, and I’m just focusing on having fun with it.”

       As Santiago begins his senior season, he is hoping to improve throughout the year and eventually continue diving at the collegiate level as a walk-on. He is looking forward to continuing to fly at the next level, and keep on doing what he loves. 

       “There’s a lot of things I love about diving,” Santiago said. “I think it’s probably the closest to flying that I’ll ever get, and I just really love the feeling of getting that airtime and just being in the air.”

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    About the Contributor
    David Steinberg, Managing Editor
    David Steinberg is a junior entering his third year on staff as a managing editor. While he’s not writing, he is an all-star athlete on the level of LeBron James: he enjoys golfing, ice hockey and running pickup basketball with his friends. After his games, he likes to wind down with a good medium steak and the 15th rewatch of his favorite TV show “Suits" for his favorite actress, her majesty, Meghan Markle. Contact David at [email protected]

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