Diving season recap: start of a great career for Lin, Merrit

Becca Raffel and Sam Kelley

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Breakout freshman star Mimi Lin begins a dive off the board. Photo by Tiffany Nguyen and courtesy of Mimi Lin.

Palo Alto High School breakout freshman star Mimi Lin begins a dive at the Stanford University pool. This season, as only a freshman, Lin took second place at the Central Coast Section finals. Photo by Tiffany Nguyen and courtesy of Mimi Lin.

The 2013 Palo Alto High School diving season saw the early successes of freshman Mimi Lin, who had a breakout season, taking second place in the Central Coast Section finals. Freshman Reed Merrit and senior Cole Plambeck also had successful seasons for boys’ diving.

Lin succeeded in placing first in the SCVAL De Anza League finals against Monta Vista, Paly’s main competition for swimming and diving, on April 26 at Paly. Lin’s score of 462.20 points was much needed for a crucial Paly victory which secured the team’s first place finish in the De Anza division. Lin’s score in this meet pushed her into third place in school history, according to Palo Alto Online. In this same meet, boys’ diving saw the success of Merrit, who competed in the place of Plambeck and won, coming less than a point away from breaking Plambeck’s school record.

Lin’s success in diving almost did not happen for a brief moment in the season. In the beginning of the season, Lin quit the diving team and committed to her initial sport, gymnastics. At that time, she was expected to heavily bolster the girls diving team’s chances of success at the Central Coast Section and Santa Clara Valley Athletic League championships, according to Coach Danny Dye.

Yet Lin returned to diving. Lin said she was motivated to join diving to get a scholarship for college. After a year of diving she blew past regionals and zones and headed to nationals to win first, second and sixth for her age group competitions.

“After I quit gymnastics I was looking for a new sport so I went to Stanford to check out the swimming team,” Lin said. “But I saw divers at another pool and their flips were so fast and fascinating that I drifted off to that pool instead and asked to join the team. I’ve always been a good platform diver … because of my gymnastics background.”

Despite so much success this year, Lin’s forfeit of gymnastics has been a struggle.

“I really wish I could do both, but I guess I have to be a good little child and stick with tradition,” she said. “Still bitter, sorry.”

Lin and Merrit both have three years ahead of them to continue the Paly diving tradition of excellence.