Brooke Andrews is 13 years old and is heading to the 2018 USA Diving Junior National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia where she will be competing in both the one-meter and three-meter springboard diving events.
The national championships will take place from July 29-Aug. 4 and will feature competitive divers from all over the country.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Andrews said. “Right now, I’m just focused on doing my best.”
Andrews resides on Mercer Island and is going to be an eighth-grader at Islander Middle School. She initially got into the sport of diving around the age of 7 because one of her friends invited her to join a summer league dive team on Mercer Island at a beach club.
Andrews would participate on that summer league dive team for three years until she discovered Dive Seattle around the age of 10. Andrews first joined Dive Seattle as a summer camp experience, but then began taking advantage of their year-around lessons.
Three to four days a week, Andrews trains with Dive Seattle at the King County Aquatic Center located in Federal Way. For Andrews, diving at such a high level and being able to travel to competitions with her teammates all over the country has helped her gain a greater passion for the sport over time.
According to Andrews, USA Diving hosts three competitions every year known as regionals, zones and nationals. In order to successfully qualify for nationals, Andrews had to place in the top 15 at regionals, advancing to zones where she had to place in the top 10 in order to finally make it to nationals. Andrews will be the only diver from Mercer Island competing at nationals this year.
Andrews’ Dive Seattle coach, Alejandra Fuentes, has played a major role in Andrews’ success up until this point. Fuentes emphasized that Andrews’ strength and discipline as a diver has helped push her to greater heights at such a young age.
“She has come a long ways from where she started,” Fuentes said. “I’m really proud of her work.”
Prior to her coaching position with Dive Seattle, Fuentes was a competitive diver herself. In the year 2000, Fuentes qualified for the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. In addition to the 2000 Summer Olympics, Fuentes competed in the world championships from 2001-2008 as well as in the FINA Diving Grand Prix from 1998-2007.
At the age of 24, Fuentes called it a career and began taking on the role of coaching back home in Venezuela alongside her husband. Fuentes and her husband would eventually make plans to leave Venezuela in search of a new home and found an opportunity to apply for a coaching position with Dive Seattle. When their application was accepted, the rest became history.
As far as expectations go for nationals, Fuentes expressed that the most important thing is for Andrews to put out her best effort and hopefully advance beyond the preliminary stages of her events. In order to advance through prelims and qualify for the semifinals, Andrews will have to place in the top six for each of her springboard events.
“My main expectation for her is to have the experience, have her personal best and dive her best,” Fuentes said. “What happens next, it will be what it is.”
This will be the first year for Andrews competing at the national level. Beyond all of the excitement surrounding nationals, Andrews looks forward to using her first-time experience at nationals as a way of continuing her growth as a diver and aspires to achieve diving success for many years to come.
“Right now, I’m really looking forward to diving in high school,” Andrews said. “I think that would be a really cool and fun experience.”