Addison Walkowiak on diving, Rutgers and role models
Rutgers diver Addison Walkowiak talks to Double G Sports about her incredible career.
Senior Addison Walkowiak is one of the premier divers at Rutgers University. She holds all diving records but one record in Rutgers history, making a lasting impact for the Scarlet Knights. Last year, Addison won the Zone Championship in 1-meter diving on boards, and looks to defend her title in March. She will also try and qualify for a fourth consecutive NCAA Championship.
Double G Sports was able to talk to Addison Walkowiak as the new season for Rutgers begins. As her college diving career comes to an end, Addison reflects on her time as the leader of the pack. She also discusses who her role models are and what’s next for the Ballston Spa native.
Double G Sports: What motivated you into becoming a diver?
Addison Walkowiak: I originally started off as a gymnast. My family owned a gymnastics studio so I basically lived inside a gym. I was doing gymnastics for about 10 years, and my older sister was doing the same before she started diving. Once I left gymnastics I started diving to follow her, and ever since then I loved it.
DGS: Was the transition from gymnastics to diving hard?
AW: It was a pretty easy transition for me. The only difference between the two is that in gymnastics you always have to learn on your feet. Always landing on your head in diving was hard to get used to at first. After a while, I did get used to it, making the transition a smooth one.
DGS: What is your training regiment like?
AW: In high school, I worked out before school, and then would go straight to varsity then club practice after school. That was about 3-4 days a week in Troy, NY. When I came to college, it got a little bit more intense. We do two days a week of lifting for about an hour. Every day we do two and a half hours of water workouts. We also spend two days a week doing dry board practices. Compared to high school, I’d say we do 18-20 hours a week of workouts.
In regards to diving, school and her future: Time management is key. I’m a public health major while also trying to get into the nursing program. I missed Olympic trials by three points. After Nationals I believe I’m staying on the path towards the nursing program.
DGS: Have you talked to any previous divers for any advice?
AW: I stayed and talked to a girl named Nicole Scott, who was a college senior when I was a high school senior. While I didn’t know her that well, it showed that she loved the program, and she seemed very smart. I might have taken her role on the team since she left.
DGS: How is the staff at Rutgers?
AW: Petra Martin (head coach) is really good at her job. She helps me when it comes to confidence and believing in myself. Fred Woodruff is my coach, and he’s excellent at his job. He’s very individualized; he helps with making the training process different for each person. He knows everything about his divers and what we need, and that helps all of us excel in the pool and in the long run.
DGS: How does a team like Rutgers handle the success they have been given since joining the Big Ten? How has morale been?
AW: My freshman year was our first year in the Big Ten. At first we were intimidated because we were considered the underdogs. However, every year we’ve gained more and more confidence. Now we feel like we belong. We also have been moving up in place every year, and that’s really exciting. It has raised our confidence even higher.
DGS: What are you teaching the younger class of swimmers coming to Rutgers?
AW: My advice has been to stay calm and trust the process. Some of them may get a bit ahead of themselves which stresses them out. I tell them it’s all going to be OK, and to trust the coach, trust the workouts and at the end of the day it’s all going to pay off.
DGS: Who are your role models?
AW: For athletics, I look up to to a number of divers. Kassidy Cook and Jessica Parratto come to mind. I like how Jessica is so humble, and Kassidy has a great work ethic. In life, I look up to my cousin Brad. He’s always happy, confident and so smart. His positivity really rubs off on me.
DGS: How do you calm the nerves when it comes to a big dive?
AW: I tell myself what I tell the younger girls: A moment to relax is needed. All that we have been doing, all the hard work, has led to this. I take a few breathes before and remind myself that whatever happens, happens. I’m very blessed to be at this level.
DGS: When is the record going to be broken?
AW: I don’t know. Nicole (Scott) was a power specialist, so it would be hard considering I’m a springboard specialist.
DGS: Any advice to the future female athletes out there?
AW: Always trust your coach, all they want is what’s best for you. Also, always be happy and blessed to compete at any level. Not many people have the opportunity you may have. Use the resources that have been provided in front of you and make sure to give back to those that have helped you get to this point.
The Scarlet Knights have a busy schedule ahead of them, with several Big Ten matchups on the horizon. Addison Walkowiak and the team have handled the pressure before, and it seems like this year won’t be any different.
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