Poolside with Haily VandePoel

  • By Jonathan Harkey
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  • November 07, 2013 10:24 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After a strong showing last year for the Mountaineer diving squad, in which she was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team, junior diver Haily VandePoel is ready to make an even bigger splash in 2013.
Junior Haily VandePoel is ready to continue her success in the 2013-14 season.
The Holland, Mich., native won seven events last season, set a new school record in the 3-meter against TCU and made finals at the NCAA Zone Championships. This season, she has her sights set on making the NCAA Championships.
“That’s a goal I have is to make it to the NCAAs. I was top five last year and I have to be top two this year,” said VandePoel. “It’s a reasonable goal and I have to remember that this season and not let that slip away."
This past summer, VandePoel stayed in Morgantown to advance her training as well as get a head start on her junior and senior year course load.
“This was my first summer here, so that was different. I took a class and then was training here,” the exercise physiology major said. “That helps with getting used to this pool and not having to go home for the summer and then coming back.”
Despite the extra preparation for meets, VandePoel is still calm and collected when it comes time for a meet.
“Nothing is really different with meets, I just try to relax and have fun like I always have,” said VandePoel.
VandePoel sometimes finds difficulty balancing school and the pool, but says she has a strong support system to help her find the right balance.
“It’s really hard (to find a balance), I try to come into practice and focus on diving. When I leave, I really only focus on school,” said VandePoel. “(Diving coach Michael Grapner) is really good on with letting me miss practice for something or if I need to study. I pretty much stay on top of work and diving.”
VandePoel is also the most experienced member of the diving squad that is in their second season in the Big 12 conference.
“The Big 12 diving competition is way above the Big East. We knew we were going in to the Big 12 Championships with a lot better teams and competition,” said VandePoel. “Now we know what the competition is like and we can place in top eight and finals. It’s a matter of not being nervous and doing what we know we can do.”
When it isn’t time to hit the books or the board, VandePoel tries to make the most of her free time.
“Around Morgantown, I really don’t have much time to do things for fun. I like to hang out with the team a lot,” said VandePoel. “When I’m at home, I like to hang out with my family because I don’t get to see them as much. We go to the beach and other things together.”