Prestin Pushing Towards Success


Courtesy of Prestin Li

Photo Courtesy of Prestin Li

Evon Hung, Asst. Web Editor

Summer, for most high school students, is a time for SAT prep, internships, or relaxation. For sophomore Prestin Li, however, this past summer was an opportunity to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union National Diving Championship.

Li, a swimmer for six years and a diver for four, has harbored a love for the sports since he was ten years old. Encouraged by his parents and coach, Li has trained for various meets, attended two championships, and is now in his second year on the varsity swim team. Throughout his years, the same challenges of diving continued to fuel his interest of the sport.

“Learning new dives is fun and pushing myself to learn a dive is really interesting. If I know I can do it and I do it, I feel really accomplished,” Li said.

The sophomore competed in the AAUNC at the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology this past July. Referred by Coach Lisa Treguboff of Cerrito’s Pacific Diving Academy, Li met the qualifications to enter the Preliminaries round where he placed within the Top 12 to advance to the Finals.

prestin2During the finals, divers of all ages faced five judges who scored the competitors’ dives on the degree of difficulty, form, and technique, but proper technique and form were the main components for a higher score.

“[Diving] straight into the water is important so that you can enter into the water smoother and make a smaller splash.” Li said.

Sectioned into age groups, the competitors were also required to dive a particular number of times. At 14, Li performed nine dives and scored high enough on four dives to earn three gold medals and one silver.

The ardent diver acquired the title “National Champion” for his score in the 3-meter springboard, 3-meter synchronized springboard, and 1-meter synchronized springboard. The silver medal was also awarded for his 1-meter springboard performance. In the springboard events, Li competed independently whereas his synchronized dives were performed with his diving partner, Aaron Augustine of PDA.

Training for the event was repetitive, yet effective for Li. For all nine dives, he practiced each one three to five times a day. During his conditioning drills, the sophomore trained on dry land, working out and rehearsing dives before executing them in the water.

Earning the accolade, “National Champion,” is Li’s first and greatest achievement in his young diving career and has made him feel accomplished. Currently, Li continues to train for future opportunities, hopes to continue his passion, and pursue diving in college.

“Diving is a part of me now. I can not live without diving or swimming anymore,” Li said.