Chennault transitions from elite gymnastics to best diving team in the nation (with video)


Lili Lomas

Coppell High School junior Lauren Chennault prepares to dive off the three-meter platform at Westside Aquatic Center on Tuesday evening. Chennault recently joined GC Divers, the No.1 ranked diving team in the nation. Photo by Lili Lomas.

Lili Lomas, Student Life Editor


From being a hardcore gymnast to a Junior Olympic level diver, in just over a year, Coppell High School junior Lauren Chennault made the transition from gymnastics to diving, securing a spot on the No.1 diving team in the nation.


“The amazing feeling of being in the air and flipping three and a half times, the adrenaline rush is kind of amazing and it’s just overall a really fun sport,” Chennault said.


This love for diving was discovered in December 2015 after Chennault joined GC Divers, a team which had four athletes qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials and won last year’s U.S. Nationals Competition.


Prior to diving, Chennault participated in gymnastics for nearly 14 years. She was highly competitive in this sport, training five hours a day, six days a week, but it began to get physically strenuous. A friend who had previously transitioned from gymnastics to diving inspired her to try diving as it involves many of the same skills.

“Gymnastics got really hard on my body because every day I was going to the gym and just pounding on my body and it was getting way too much for me mentally and physically,” Chennault said. “[Diving] is not as hard on my body as gymnastics was. It’s not as vigorous.”


However, having this gymnastics background allowed her to quickly learn how to do complicated dives and excel in diving.


“Gymnastics is a lot like diving so I think it kind of helped her understand the dynamics of twisting and flipping,” said April Long, Chennault’s diving coach.  “She’s very flexible and strong so she’s good on the board, mat and [trampoline]. She can do it all.”


After her first meet competing at the Junior Olympic level, Chennault qualified to advance to the regional competition, which took her to compete at Texas A&M University. That summer, she spent each day training with the coach of the U.S. National Team.


These past accomplishments have led Chennault to see a future in in the sport. She even has aspirations to perform at the college level.


Teammate, CHS freshman Ethan Koshy, joined GC Divers at about the same time as Chennault and trains with her four days a week. He has been able to see her growth in the sport as well as experience her dedication to it.


“She comes to practice every day early and even when we get out, sometimes she’ll finish up her dives and she’s always willing to try new dives.” Koshy said. “She has [helped me] for sure because when you see somebody work hard a lot, it kind of motivates you to become as good as they are.”


A typical practice starts with stretching and a short workout before getting in the water. Once warmed up, she goes through basic skills and then practices several of her dives, receiving feedback from coaches as she goes. After practice, she works out again, sometimes going to the weight room, or working out on her own.


Though the training for diving is so extensive, Chennault finds fun in it and enjoys the uniqueness of the sport.


“It’s just different because when you think of sports you think of football, baseball, basketball, you don’t really think of diving,” Chennault said. “It’s just very different because not many people can do the stuff that we do and when people see it, it kind of amazes them.”


Chennault is not on the CHS diving team this year due to conflict with school Off-Campus Physical Education credit but she hopes to dive for the school team next year. She is beginning her competition season this weekend and though she has not been diving as long as her competitors, she hopes to qualify at national meets and eventually be on the GC Diving national team.