By Susan Bromley
Brandon Twp.- Emily Sosnoski is diving into the history books.
The 15-year-old sophomore is the first female diver from Brandon High School to qualify for state competition in her sport.
“She is great to coach– she’s very flexible, hardworking, determined and always willing to seek further advancement,” said Marty Quertermous, BHS assistant swim and dive coach. “She is motivated and wants to be the best she can and really set herself apart. She established a goal in eighth grade to be at states by her sophomore year.”
Mission accomplished. Sosnoski finished ninth in regional competition and was to compete Nov. 18 at Eastern Michigan University as one of the top 36 divers in the state from Division II schools. If she places in the top 16 on Friday, she would move on to dive three more times in Saturday competition at EMU.
Sosnoski took up diving in eighth grade after suffering an ankle injury in gymnastics, a sport she had participated in for several years.
“I was looking for a new sport and I like how its very close to the gymnastics style,” Sosnoski said. “I get to do the same kind of flips and stuff that I used to do in gymnastics and also, I’m not in any pain when I do it.”
She is the sole diver on a roster of 22 girls on the swim team and has been for two years, which is an additional challenge when she is struggling with a dive, as there is no one else to relate to difficulties she may have. Sosnoski practices her dives, which include a twisting dives, a reverse one-and-a-half somersault dive, and a forward two-and-a-half somersault that she was working on this week.
The scarcity of divers likely results from some unique challenges in the sport, said Quertermous.
“Diving is mental in a different way,” he said. “Swimming is technique and pacing, but with diving you have an inanimate object in front of you–the board– and at times, when rotating, you lose sight of it. There can be a subconcious fear since you can’t see it and don’t know how close you are to it while in the air.
“Getting over that is a huge mental barrier…You hit the board or hit the water. A lot of people can get over fear of hitting the water, but diving off board and doing things like that, tends to create some fear. To be a diver, you have to be somewhat fearless to succeed.”
Sosnoski tries not to overthink things.
In high school, all dives are done off a 1-meter springboard. Sosnoski practices about 7 hours a week, but spends at least another three hours competing. Her fitness regimen includes stretching and jumping. In the off season, she still practices at GOB Gymnastics, sometimes with divers from the boys team.
She hopes to advance past the first round at states and in looking toward the future, isn’t dreaming of the Olympics, but simply having fun and hoping to possibly get a college scholarship for diving.
Sosnoskis is the daughter of Ann-Marie and Matt Sosnoski of Brandon Township.