Author: Riley Kimball (Senior Writer)
On the board, Jessica Robson (sophomore) is perfectly still, facing away from the water. She raises her arms to a cock-eyed “T” and rubs her palms with her fingers, pausing for a moment she leaps. Flipping forward two whole rotations and twisting 360 degrees, Robson enters hands-first with no splash.
This dive, the back two-and-a-half twister, is one of those that propelled her to victory on the three meter board at SCIACs in 2011.
Robson is currently the captain and only member of Occidental’s women’s diving team. Her diving scores earn points for the entire swimming and diving team, and with close victories for the team throughout the season, her success has been crucial to that of the entire team.
With the graduation of other top divers last spring and a few teammates quitting, she has soldiered on as the lone member of the team. And after last weekend’s preliminary round of SCIACs, she is one of the top competitors in the league and is poised to take down Occidental alumnus Sara Sharpe’s (’11) meet record of 443.85.
Robson decided to become a diver after a fateful trip to Six Flags near her hometown of Sacramento.
“Instead of a whale show, they had divers,” Robson said. Shortly thereafter, she joined Capital Divers, a local diving club, where she learned to dive as well as the clown divers at Six Flags.
“A kid on my team actually joined the circus,” she said.
Because diving is a niche sport, the high school swim team did not want to give up the lanes required for Robson and her sister, Molly, to practice. “In high school, we usually had to fight for a diving team and for a coach,” Robson said.
At Occidental, Robson first dove alongside a strong women’s diving team, but now she practices alongside the Rose Bowl Diving club team with her coach Cristina Perovich, a former Italian National Champion diver.
Robson is the only person scoring for Occidental’s swimming and diving team for the one meter and three meter diving events, but so far this season she has already beaten every female diver and all but two male divers in the SCIAC. These victories have been vital to the success of the women’s swim team this season.
“It’s not ideal to be in a situation where you only have one diver. But if that is the case, you want that diver to be exactly like Jessica. She is extremely talented, hardworking and consistent, as displayed by her undefeated record in dual meets this season. She is someone we can always count on to be on top of her game,” Head Swim Coach Shea Manning said.
Robson pushes just as hard out of the pool. Not content only as an All-SCIAC athlete, she is also working towards a double major in economics and math.
On top of that, she is the education officer for Theta and publicity director for Her Campus, an online magazine aimed at Occidental students.
“It’s all worth it, even though I’m really bad at time management,” she said.
This weekend Robson will compete for the SCIAC title on Saturday at Redlands where she hopes to earn one of 22 slots at the NCAA Championship Mar. 22-25.
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