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October 26, 2023

Diving for greatness

Darrow reaches new height as captain
Coppell+sophomore+Emery+Darrow+attempts+a+reverse+pike+dive+at+Coppell+YMCA+on+Jan.+24.+As+Coppell+dive+team+captain%2C+Darrow+has+broken+several+school+records+and+consistently+places+in+competition.+
Maddy Park
Coppell sophomore Emery Darrow attempts a reverse pike dive at Coppell YMCA on Jan. 24. As Coppell dive team captain, Darrow has broken several school records and consistently places in competition.

Confidence. 

Confidence is what Coppell sophomore dive captain Emery Darrow must meticulously demonstrate when she steps onto the diving board.

Looming beneath her? A 10-foot monster unlike any other. As she uses her momentum to propel herself up, she prepares to plummet into the cold ice water. 

On Coppell’s three-member dive team, Darrow clearly shows her prominence. Already breaking the Coppell record of most points in 11 dives by 15 points, accumulating a total of 340 points, she has clearly demonstrated her role in the team. 

“When you look at Emery, her face is lush with confidence,” Coppell swim coach Jonathan Drori said. “Jumping from that height isn’t something any regular person can do.”

Although there is always a fear of hitting the water at the wrong speed or not achieving the correct body position when entering, Darrow conquers her worries by hyping herself up and getting ready to flip in the air. 

“It’s a back-and-forth battle with me on the board,” Darrow said. “You will constantly hear me talking to myself getting ready for the next dive.”

Coppell sophomore diver Emery Darrow practices at Coppell YMCA on Jan. 24. As Coppell dive team captain, Darrow has broken several school records and consistently places in competition. (Maddy Park)

When she was 3, Darrow started gymnastics and attained invaluable lessons through it. With Darrow’s experience in gymnastics, she has gotten an excellent feel for doing all sorts of stunts in the air. 

“She had a lot of technical knowledge and skill coming into the program,” Drori said. “Obviously, she hadn’t jumped nearly as high as diving requires her to, so she had to fix that.”

Starting off diving, like any sport, requires taking baby steps. Joining GC divers, an outside club, she got the individual training necessary to improve. 

“They started me off with basic flips into the pool and then trained me up,” Darrow said. “It was a long process, but I started to get a handle on what jumping off the board felt like.” 

While the diving board looks enjoyable to play with in the movies, it is a 165-pound beast that you must time right to the millisecond to get the optimal speed and distance to do flips. 

“That’s by far the hardest part of diving in general,” Drori said. “Not only do you need pin point accuracy on the diving board, but you also need to bounce just right to ensure you get up high enough.”

From basic front flips to four twists in a row off a diving board, it requires extreme concentration and energy to perform.

“She is the most elegant diver I have ever seen,” senior diver Gabriel Conley said. “The way she performs even the simplest dives makes you feel like you are watching poetry in motion.”

Her extreme concentration, however, can also be translated to the classroom, where she has never been anything short of stellar. She made the honor roll in all her middle and high school years; her drive and determination have not failed to shine. 

“She is definitely one of the smartest we have, not on the dive team, but on the entire swim team in general,” Conley said. “Her ability to balance out both sides of the equation is truly what makes her a stand out student-athlete.”

With the small dive community, many divers know each other, even if they are from other schools. Darrow’s goal as she expands her horizons is to introduce people to an underrepresented group of divers and show them what it is really like to be a part of not just a team but a community and a family. 

“I have always wanted to expand my reach to attract more divers in the same way I got hooked to this incredible sport,” Darrow said. “Kids that want to be a part of something more than just themselves can look to this sport, and that is why I keep diving. Because I have family and I have a community that supports my every move.”

Follow @namir_awan and @SidekickSports on X. 

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About the Contributors
Namir Awan, Staff Photographer
Namir is a junior and a 2nd year staff photographer for The Sidekick. Namir has a younger sister who is a freshman. Namir loves to watch and play basketball and football. He's a wide receiver in football and a guard in basketball. Namir loves sports because he loves playing with friends and enjoys being outside. Namir enjoys learning about history because he likes learning about the past. He also enjoys talking and helping others. Namir does fundraisers to help those in need and is always looking out for those around him. He also loves to play video games with his friends; his favorite game is Rocket League, which allows him to destress after a long week. Namir enjoys traveling with his family; his favorite place he's ever been to is Italy. He visited Rome, The Vatican, Pompei, and Naples in Italy. He's studying whenever Namir isn't helping people, playing sports, or playing video games. He is currently taking AP US History, AP Environmental Sciences, AP English Language and Composition, AP Chemistry, and AP Pre Calculus. Namir loves to listen to music when he studies. He loves to listen to R&B, Pop, and Rap. Namir also loves to cook with his family; his favorite dish is burgers. Namir also works at Kumon; he enjoys working there because he enjoys helping kids learn math and reading. As Namir settles back into school he is excited for this upcoming year as he goes into his second year of being on The Sidekick. 
Maddy Park, Staff Photographer
Staff photographer Maddy Park ended up in The Sidekick in an unexpected way. After landing a leg injury, Park had to switch out of soccer and decided ‘Why not join the school’s newspaper?’ From owning her own Sidekick subscriptions before, Park has always enjoyed reading and looking at pages on the newspaper, and decided she wanted to be a part of it all. Ever since middle school, Park has been part of the art program and appreciates what it brings to the table. Outside of school, Park plays for her club soccer team, DKSC and has been playing soccer since kindergarten. She enjoys being part of a team and getting to support one another. Her favorite movie is Lalaland and her favorite artist is JOJI. You can contact her through her email at [email protected] or on Instagram at @maddy.yp_73.

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