Southlake’s Hailey Hernandez shocks the diving world, kicking US team out of high school

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In a sport defined by hours of training for a defining moment, taking on the best in the country, no one had to tell Hailey Hernandez how much of a task it was for her – an 18-year-old fresh out of college. of Southlake Carroll – to qualify for the United States team.

“Before this competition, I wasn’t expecting it,” Hernandez said of Team USA’s trials this month in Indianapolis. “I was going there more for the experience and I thought it was just the start of my career. I had goals for Paris 2024.”

But Paris can wait.

Hernandez heads to Tokyo after shocking the diving world at Indy – emerging from a 27-woman competition as one of two qualified to represent the United States in the 3-meter diving.

“When I touched that water I knew I had done it and so I had the biggest smile on my face,” Hernandez said.

Her 7-year-old self was dreaming of this Olympic moment. But Hailey also remembers a time when she thought about giving up diving altogether.

“When I was in college [age] I actually wanted to quit because I was struggling with the fear of learning new dives and leveling up. “

She succeeded and found herself on top of the diving world in Texas, winning state titles in the 1-meter diving over the four seasons of her high school career at Carroll – milestones that prepared her for a great qualifying moment for the 2021 Olympic Games.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Hailey’s family will have to watch her Olympic moment unfold from here to Texas as spectators are still not allowed at the Tokyo games. On the flip side, the pandemic has given Hailey a crucial extra year to prepare for these Olympics and may have made the ultimate difference between her being on the U.S. team right now or not.

“It definitely helped me because over the last year I have struggled a lot with mental blocks and challenges with my dive,” Hernandez said. “To be able to have that extra year and really focus on myself, mentally slow everything down and come back, I think the break has been really good for me.”

“It’s sad and I’m sad that [my family won’t] to go and it won’t be a completely normal experience, but I’m glad the Olympics continue. “

And now that she’s caused a stir in America, why not shock the world?

“I’m just going there to do my best and represent such an amazing country”,
Hernandez said. “Obviously the goal is to win a medal, but if I go for it and do my best, I’ll be extremely happy. “

Hernandez departs for Tokyo on July 18, with the diving competition starting July 25.


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