Division I diver
Countless hours in the pool helped Kaitlin Friedli win consecutive state diving titles.
That hard work has also propelled the Chugiak High senior to the top collegiate level.
On April 25, Friedli signed a letter of intent to dive for Colgate (N.Y.) University’s NCAA Division I program. Earning a spot on a team at the highest collegiate level was a shock to Friedli.
“I wasn’t really expecting to dive D-I,” she said. “I’m really excited.”
Her coaches weren’t surprised.
“She’s got a really good attitude,” said Arctic Diving Club coach Lainee Adkins. “She’s willing to put in the hours that got her to the next level.”
Friedli estimated she spent 460 hours in the pool during her final high school season, which culminated in her second straight title at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Swimming and Diving Championships in November 2012.
Due to its technical nature, diving requires an immense amount of practice, Friedli said.
“It’s just a matter of hard work and dedication,” she said.
Those words define Friedli, said Jessica Kopischke.
“She worked harder than any other athlete I’ve worked with,” said Kopischke, who served as Friedli’s high school and private coach.
The warm reception Friedli received from Colgate cemented her decision to dive for the Raiders.
“Everyone was really welcoming,” she said.
Friedli also wanted a small school with a high academic level (U.S. News and World Report ranked Colgate as the 18th best liberal arts college in the country in 2013).
Friedli didn’t need diving to get into Colgate. She was accepted based on her academic achievement, which was another goal Friedli was proud to accomplish.
Friedli said she’s leaning toward studying biology and wants to pursue a career in the medical field.
After suffering a gymnastics injury in middle school, Friedli turned to diving and fell in love with the sport. The difficulty of diving is what appeals to her, Friedli said.
“I like the challenge,” she said.
Moving on to the collegiate level will give Friedli a whole new test as she moves from the 1-meter board to the 3-meter.
As someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, Friedli said she’s looking forward to diving at a new height.
“It will be interesting and new and exciting,” she said.
The attitude and work ethic Friedli possesses will allow her to excel in college just as she has in high school, Kopischke said.
Adkins said she’s eager to see how Friedli stacks up against the nation’s top divers.
“She’s been great to coach,” Adkins said. “I’m excited to see how she does in college.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].