Molly Carlson has already achieved national recognition in her young diving career.
This past weekend she found the international spotlight.
Thunder Bay’s Carlson claimed gold in the Group B (14-15-year-old) three-metre event at the Junior Pan American Games in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday for her first major international medal.
The importance of the breakthrough was not lost on Carlson as she returned to her Thunder Bay Diving Club teammates and her home pool at the Canada Games Complex on Tuesday afternoon.
“This made my goals way more realistic. I never thought the outcome of this would mean so much to me but it was crazy knowing that now I’m the best in North and South America in my age group,” said the Grade 10 St. Ignatius student.
“I just have so much more confidence in myself and now I feel like I can accomplish anything.”
Count club coach Jason Napper as one who is not surprised by the result, as he subtly gave Carlson a heads up to expect success.
“I told her before she left she was a medal contender, and I pretty much hinted to her if she put all her ducks in a row on that one day she could come out with gold,” Napper said.
“Instantly North America knows who she is. In the coming years as she progresses and starts making senior national team as well as junior national team then the world will start knowing who Molly Carlson is.”
Carlson has found most of her success on the three-metre springboard, which she laughed and said now is definitely her favourite event.
She enjoys the event because she can effectively use the propulsion of the board, and the height gives her enough time to use her athletic ability to perform mid-air manoeuvers. Napper thinks her natural athletic ability allows her to take advantage of the board.
On Saturday Carlson led a Canadian sweep of gold and silver medals, as Calgary’s Caeli McKay placed right behind her. Carlson recorded a total of 381.00 points, and McKay finished with 365.25.
It was McKay who narrowly edged Carlson on the final dive at the Junior Elite Nationals which were held in Thunder Bay in July.
This time Carlson jumped into the lead with a strong opening, and then held on through the final rounds.
“I was just confident and stayed happy and that really helped me remain calm throughout it because normally if I think of the whole outcome it will freak me out,” she explained.
“After round five and my compulsories I had a pretty big lead and I just thought if I stick to doing what I know how to do then it can be good for me.”
One thing Carlson and the Canadian team did was travel to Cuba a couple of weeks ago to simulate the outdoor conditions that would be present in Arizona.
For a diver that spends so much time competing in indoor pools, she said the opportunity to get familiar with the differences was important to her and the whole team, which doubled their medal haul from 2011.
“It helped so much,” Carlson said. “We got used to the weather, and diving outside with the climate in Arizona and we were really prepared.”
This was the third Junior Pan-Am appearance for Carlson since 2009, who also competed this year at the senior nationals and Canada Summer Games.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.