Putting On The Ritz
The Corsair talks to Sarah Ritz, who set the state record for three-meter dive at the California Community College State Championships
CORSAIR: How did you train for these meets & getting that score?
RITZ: It's really all about routine so I make sure I have a warm-up routine that I go through. I usually practice one dive every meet during the warm-up and then there's also a routine that I go through before I actually do my dive in competition. It helps keep me consistent and help keeps me levelheaded throughout the whole meet so I don't get nervous.
CORSAIR: What's the best part about competitions like these?
RITZ: I think the best part is when you're standing up there all alone on the diving board and you know everyone is watching you. It's nerve-racking, but at the same time you also have everyone's attention and all of their focus is on you. You have to shine in the spotlight in that moment.
CORSAIR: What does it feel like to have earned a record-breaking score?
RITZ: I'm speechless. [Silence]
CORSAIR: How has the reaction been since you had this record-breaking score at the WSC meet?
RITZ: It's been amazing; my whole team been supporting me and has been so happy for me. The coaches are so happy for me. It's just been sort of unreal because I came back this year wanting to do that and I actually accomplished it.
CORSAIR: What are your plans now?
RITZ: My plan is to go to Occidental College. They're recruiting me right now for their diving team. I just have to be accepted academically so I'm sort of in the waiting process to hear if I've been accepted yet. It's kind of nerve-racking.
CORSAIR: How long have you been swimming?
Ritz: A year and a half. I actually started here at the diving class because I was a former gymnast and I thought, "Hey, I could do diving." Then my coach in the diving class said I had pretty good talent and that I should join the diving team. I was like, "yeah right," but the first year I dove, I made state, and I thought, "why not come back again," and see if I can win state.
Corsair: Are you considering continuing swimming in the years to come?
RITZ: Oh yeah, definitely. I'm hoping to dive two more years at Occidental College and who knows? You could make it to the Olympics like Laura Wilkinson or just keep diving on a Masters dive team.
CORSAIR: Do you dive outside of Santa Monica College? If so, where?
RITZ: Yes. I dive for the USC dive club team with Hongping [Li], which is actually how I improved so much last year. I dove all summer with them, and then I came back here and sort of brought it back with me.
CORSAIR: How do you feel about the SMC swim and dive team?
RITZ: Dude, we were rockin' this year! It was a really, really, really exciting year. We had a great swim team; we had a great dive team. I think this is the best team that we've had at SMC just all across the board. We've had great spirit, great energy, and I think a lot of it comes down to teamwork and team support. Even people who didn't make it to state on our team they still came to support us at state.
CORSAIR: Where would you like to see the future of SMC swimming & diving to head?
RITZ: Well, I would definitely like to see more guys make it to state cause we've usually had a pretty strong girls team. I think we definitely need a pretty strong guys team and also to recruit more divers. Every year is sort of unsure whether we're going to have divers or not. This year we just got lucky with three divers, so we definitely need to recruit more divers.
CORSAIR: What people have the biggest influence on your life?
RITZ: I would say my significant other. He was a pretty big support. He was like my second coach on the side to my real coach. If I was ever nervous, he would calm me down and help me make sure that I would go through my routine, he was there at almost all the meets, but also my teammates for sure, Ryan [King] and Heather [Freed] definitely supported me throughout the meet as well.