To Nationals And Back: With Chris McLauchlan

Molly Bloom, Staff Writer

First-year diving phenom Chris McLauchlan blew away his competition at the Division III NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis from March 21–23. McLauchlan notched not one but two All-American spots by finishing seventh in both the 3-meter and 1-meter dives, adding to the College’s impressive swimming and diving pedigree by becoming its 23rd All-American. The Review sat down to talk with the dynamic first-year about making a splash on the D-III scene, dance and his teammates.

How did College nationals rank as a diving experience?

I competed in age-group nationals when I was 14, so I have had some experience with it before, but this is college so it is a lot more interesting. It was the Olympic training center pool, and it is like the main NCAA hub for paperwork, too.

How did you dive?

I dove pretty much the same on both events. I’ve been slowly getting better and more consistent throughout the season, so I felt like if I hit my dives and didn’t do anything awful I would do well. You never have a meet where you hit all of your dives perfectly, but that is because it is a hard sport. I, of course, didn’t [do everything perfectly] and I had some off dives, but there were very few people in the meet who did everything right, so it was fine. I really have nothing to complain about.

Do you have a favorite?

[At nationals] my reverse dives were the best, where you walk out on the board like you are going to do a forward dive but instead you dive back toward the board. My reverse 2 1/2 tuck on the 3-meter and my reverse 1 1/2 pike on the 1-meter [were also pretty good.] Typically my best ones are the twister dives, though; that is my specialty.

It looks like your head is about to hit the board whenever you dive. What’s up with that?

For a lot of people viewing the sport it looks like it is too close, but for the technique it helps make the dive better because you get higher and there is more time to do a dive.

Do you know what you want to major in yet?

Yeah, I’ve declared Dance as my major. I really like dance, I just started dance here. Being in sports all my life has helped a lot in this. I also want to do Creative Writing, but I can’t declare that as a major until I’m a junior.

Dance? Do you think diving helps?

Yeah, I do. To an extent, diving teaches a lot about control. I also did gymnastics, and it taught a lot about grace and control. I think good form can translate from sports into good dance. But there are some ways that it is really different.

Does diving take a toll on your body?

It does. You have to be more powerful in diving than [in] gymnastics. I would be better if I were stronger.

How did the season go as a whole?

I started out a lot more inconsistently, but in training over the season I really focused and got better throughout the year.

The biggest surprise in college was that the team is so supportive and everyone is really close — I’ve never been on a team like that before, where everyone cares so much about each other and that has been really nice. … Seven or eight of [my teammates] came [to Indianapolis to watch.] … They even created a dive team cheer, so that was really nice, too.

Do you have any plans yet for next year to help you meet your goal of performing better at nationals?

Just focusing on training harder and [working out] more [on] dry land and lifting weights. I am not the strongest person and I don’t really have the body type for [diving]: I am very tall and it is better to be short because you are more muscular and compact and can spin a lot faster. It is funny because Jordan [Atwood], the other diver on the team, is also really tall and we are both at least a head taller than most of the other divers at meets. It takes a lot longer to make the dive when you have long legs like I do. But long legs make you look more graceful, which probably helped me out a lot in the competition.