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South Jordan diver wins fourth straight title

Mar 28, 2017 11:38AM ● Published by Billy Swartzfager

Lizzie Holmes dives at a competition last season. (Michelle Holmes)

Gallery: South Jordan diver wins fourth straight title [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Billy Swartzfager | billy@mycityjournals.com

Years ago, Lizzie Holmes accompanied a friend to diving lessons in Arizona. What she saw there sparked an interest that has grown into a passion, a passion that has taken Lizzie, now a senior in high school, to the top of many podiums in many different places. Her adventures from the platform are only just beginning. Lizzie plans to dive for BYU next year, having received a full athletic scholarship.

When the Holmes family moved to Utah, Michelle Holmes, Lizzie’s mother, got her started in a parks and recreation diving program. She also participated in a BYU dive camp where she received an invitation to join the camp program. Lizzie attends Bingham High School, but diving is considered a club sport, so Lizzie and her mother travel to BYU every day to practice diving after school.

“Lizzie wakes up at 7 a.m., goes to school and heads to BYU right after school, doing her homework in the car,” Michelle Holmes said. “We get home every day at 7 p.m.”

In addition to being an amazing diver, Lizzie also excels in school. She is an honor student, maintaining a 3.97 GPA, while taking honors courses, AP courses and concurrent classes. Part of the scholarship she received from BYU was for her academic prowess. She wants a degree in nursing while minoring in Spanish. 

This year, Lizzie won her fourth consecutive state diving title, on Feb 25. She performed six dives against 10 other girls in front of three judges. Lizzie stuck a front two and a half tuck from 1 meter as her most difficult dive.

“It’s a fun dive,” she said. “It has more flips than other dives.”

Lizzie likes to dive from the 1-meter platform, though it is easier to do complex dives from higher up where there is more room to rotate before hitting the water. But, she said diving from higher up is a bit more intimidating, though one wouldn’t be able to tell she was intimidated by looking at her scores. The point spread between Lizzie and the second place diver at state was close to 80 points, when those sorts of spreads are generally closer to five or 10 points.

“She has learned mental toughness over the years,” Michelle Holmes said, “She can focus on exactly what needs to be done but also has a good time while doing it.”

According to her mother, Lizzie doesn’t let her fear of a dive control or conquer her. Her mother tells a story about a time when Lizzie was learning a dive and landed hard and awkwardly. She was in pain but climbed back onto the board to try again. When she was up there she was tentative, but Michelle Holmes offered a manicure if she could stick the dive. Lizzie stuck it surely, but her mother knew it had nothing to do with the manicure—that was just a bonus; it was all about Lizzie beating something that challenged her.

Lizzie has participated in some very large, prestigious national competitions. She has competed at the AAU Nationals and USA Junior Olympic Nationals for the past three years, diving from both 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Lizzie won first from the platform and second on the 1- and 3-meter events at AAU Nationals last summer.

Lizzie is excited to be diving for BYU beginning next fall. The head coach there has been her club coach for a few years, and Lizzie feels she has learned a lot from him. She also said the sacrifices have been worth it, a sentiment her mother shares.

“We have bonded over diving” Michelle Holmes said. “This has taken serious dedication from everyone involved. Diving isn’t a team sport, but it is a family sport, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Lizzie feels the same way.

“I can’t imagine the sacrifices she has to make,” she said. “My mother is a big reason for my success.” 

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