Cougar of the Week: 02/12/2015

Breanna Tucker | Photo: Celine Manneville
Breanna Tucker | Photo: Celine Manneville

Breanna Tucker (‘15) posted a whopping score of 395.25 in the three-meter-board in the team’s Wheaton Invitational and is poised to dive in to the NCAA Regionals on Friday, February 27. The Temecula, CA native is majoring in both Psychology and Studio Art and she sat down with The Scarlet to discuss diving, dancing, and more.

Scarlet: How did you get into diving?

Tucker: I was a gymnast when I was young…then I quit gymnastics when I was 13 and started diving after that. It was an easy transition into diving.


Scarlet:  What drew you to diving?

Tucker: Well originally to get injured less, because I figured flipping into water would prevent injury, but I’ve actually gotten injured much more in diving then in gymnastics.


Scarlet: What injuries have you had?

Tucker: I have hit the board and broke my foot. [I have also had] five concussions.


Scarlet:  Do the injuries make you want to stop?

Tucker: No [laughs]. The concussions, after the fifth one, I almost wanted to stop, because I was like, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this because my brain is important’ but then I was like ‘no, it’s not.’ I’d much rather be diving, so this year I decided I would dive in a much more safe manner, like focusing on having fun, and perfecting an easy diving list instead of throwing in really big dives that would get me injured.


Scarlet:  So the harder the dive, the more likely you are to get hurt?

Tucker: Yeah, and like the more flipping and twisting, the easier it is to get lost, and then the easier it is to hit your head.


Scarlet: What do divers do at practice?

Tucker: We work on our dives and we train….we work out. We condition for like an hour, and then we train diving for two hours every day.


Scarlet: I know that swim team has to get to practice very early, do divers do the same?

Tucker: No we don’t have to do that. We still have to work out the same amount of time, but we don’t have to get up that early. We can only practice from 6-8 p.m. so since we have that limited scheduling [our coach] doesn’t make us get up at 5:30 a.m. and practice in the evening at six.


Scarlet: Are you guys in the same shape that the swimmers are?

Tucker: No it’s very different: they’re training endurance, they’re training fast-twitch muscles, we like train our muscles to get stronger and faster and they train their muscles to get more endurance. Unless they’re sprinters, I would say I am in similar condition physically to a sprinter.


Scarlet: You qualified for regionals for the second straight year. How much of an accomplishment is that?

Tucker: It is a really huge accomplishment. Regionals my sophomore year I qualified, and that’s where I hit the board and broke my foot, so that prevented me to go to nationals. So you qualify to get to regionals and then you compete at regionals to get to nationals. So I was competing really well, was probably going to go to nationals, but I couldn’t compete because I broke my foot. It’s super encouraging to qualify again this year, because then I can give myself another chance to make it to nationals.


Scarlet: Do you think you have a good shot to make it to nationals?

Tucker: There are some really good divers, so I don’t know. I have a shot, but I would have to do exceptionally well at Regionals to make it.


Scarlet: How good is the Clark diving program compared to other schools? We have three female divers and one male diver here, is that the normal amount?

Tucker: It varies, there’s not normally a lot of divers. We’re pretty competitive,  [male diver Steven Castiglione (‘18)] and I are pretty competitive. At the last meet he got first on one meter and I got first on three meter and that was like some of our biggest competitors at that meet, at the Wheaton Invite.


Scarlet: How has it been seeing Steven come in and set all the records he set? Do you enjoy seeing that?

Tucker: Yeah it’s super exciting… Steven and I are really close, he’s like my puppy. It’s been really exciting because he’s been breaking records and doing really well, and he also has a really good attitude on our team.


Scarlet: You’re graduating in a few months, do you have plans to dive after college?

Tucker: No, I’m a dancer too, I have plans to dance after college. I’m auditioning for a few companies and I’m auditioning to become a performer at Disneyland. But I’m not gonna dive. In order to dive after undergrad you have to be super good, you have to be like training for the Olympics, and I’m just not.


Scarlet: I saw that you want to get a doctorate in marriage and family therapy with a specialization in art therapy. What is art therapy?

Tucker: I’ve always been an artist, and art therapy is using art as a medium for healing for people. So they are doing art and making art and I am leading them through making art. It’s like a way they can communicate their feelings if they can’t verbally. It’s mostly with kids.


Scarlet: Do you work with any group of kids in particular?

Tucker: All kinds of children, they do a lot with trauma, like trauma victims, and also with PTSD, so war veterans do a lot of art therapy, it’s becoming very popular.


Scarlet: What got you interested in art therapy?

Tucker: I was thinking about that the other day, I think I was studying both Psychology and Art here, and I was like ‘I should put this together’ and then discovered that there is a whole field and I can do that. I don’t really know what got me into it…I was a guest dancer for [Clark Summer Camp Main Idea], and that solidified my want to do art therapy, because it’s like using art as a medium of healing, art and you can draw, dance, do music, drama.


Scarlet: What will you remember most from your diving career here at Clark?

Tucker: The team. This team is the greatest team I’ve been a part of. I’ve never been a part of a group that has been such a family, and I feel really supported by my team, and I am going to miss them the most. I will miss diving, but I will be satisfying my need to flip and twist by dancing, and I will definitely miss my team. Our last meet, on the way back from Wheaton the seniors give a senior speech and everyone was crying. So yeah, I’ll miss the team.


Scarlet: Are there a lot of similar movements in diving and dancing?

Tucker: Well there’s like, kinda, like you’re doing twisting and I’m an acrobatic dancer so I do tumbling and stuff, so there is, but there isn’t water.


Scarlet: Finally, this might be a really dumb question, but how do divers not get water in their nose every single dive?

Tucker: [Laughs] You blow water out of your nose when you get under the water.


Scarlet: But like, when you fall from that high and have so much of an impact, isn’t it impossible to keep out?

Tucker: Sometimes it’s just inevitable.


Scarlet:  So you just have to deal with it?

Tucker: Yeah [laughs].