Kaylee Bishop and Emilie Moore live just blocks from one another and they carpool every day from Boca Raton to Coral Springs to diving practice.
The two members of the Coral Springs Diving Team say they are hopeful that those travels could land them spots on the U.S. Diving team. They are currently competing in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Diving at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.
They train with former Olympians Michelle Sandelin and Matthew Vieke, who are co-head coaches of the Coral Springs program.
Moore, 16, a junior at Boca Raton High School, where she owns a state title in diving, and Bishop, 14, an eighth-grader taking online classes with Dwight Global, is the youngest female competing. The two junior divers are among 100 of the top divers throughout the country competing in the Trials, which will run through June 13.
Bishop is competing in the Women’s 10-meter individual and 3-meter synchro events (with Texas’ Avery Worobel) at the U.S. Olympic Diving Team Trials, while Moore is competing in both the 10-meter individual and 3-meter individual events.
Bishop and Worobel have known each other since they were 7 and in the same club in Massachusetts. They have both trained with each other in their respective states the past month to prepare.
“We are very close,” said Bishop, whose known Moore for the past five years. “We are best friends. It’s amazing to be the youngest (female diver) in the field. Just being there is insane.”
Bishop said there is a lot of excitement diving off a platform and the different boards. She began diving five years ago after converting from swimming.
“There is a lot of adrenaline and nerves running through you,” Bishop said. “Once you punch the platform, all of it is up in the air. You are just technically flying. You are free. I want to go to the Olympics.
“I moved here from Massachusetts and I had never seen a platform before and it was overwhelming,” Bishop said. “When I stood up there at first, I was like, ‘What is this?’ I loved it and I knew I wanted to be a platform diver. You don’t have time to think. You just have to go. Once you start, you don’t stop and your body knows exactly what it has to do.”
Bishop, who unlike other divers does not have a gymnastics background, said she has been training for a long time and her body knows just how to react. She said it comes natural, and proved it in her first year of diving when she qualified for the AAU Nationals. In her second year, not only did she qualify for nationals, but she also reached the finals.
“That’s when I realized that maybe this is my sport and we made the move to Florida,” Bishop said. “I just slowly progressed and now I am here. This is my first Trials and it is all for the experience. We are going to make the most of it.
“When I qualified for Trials, I was in total shock,” Bishop said. “I was almost emotionless. I was in complete shock. I just want to do my best. I have no expectations of making the team. I probably will not the first year, but to be with those divers will be amazing. When they call my name, in addition to the adrenaline, confidence will shoot through me.”
Moore said she also believes that it is a longshot to make the team but is grateful to get the experience.
“Currently don’t have the DDs (degree of difficulty) to compete with the higher level athletes,” she said. “I am just so happy to qualify for the Trials. It is such an honor and a great experience and hopefully an experience I will have later in life when I have the DDs.
“We had to submit the videos online and on the tower, I was pretty confident with my list,” said Moore, a converted gymnast. She was a team member of the 2019 Junior Pan American Championships for the United States. “When I made 3-meter, that was more of a surprise. That was cool and it is amazing to be going to the Trials with all of those great divers.”
When Moore started diving, she told her coach that she would never be a tower diver.
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“I was afraid of how high it was,” Moore said, laughing. “To this day, jumping is a little scarier than diving. When you are diving, it doesn’t really seem that tall because you are so absorbed in what you have to do. You have like a half a second before you hit the water.”
Sandelin (formally Davison), who finished 12th in the 3-meter springboard event in the 2000 Sydney Games, said these are the first two divers from the 7-year-old program to make the Trials.
“It is super exciting,” she said. “The process with COVID was a little crazy. Usually, there is a last chance meet for those who want to compete at Trials, but with COVID they didn’t think they could host it safely, so they did video submissions. It was a unique process; a lot of training and a lot of work was put into it. The girls really stepped up and put together some great lists that they were able to submit. In the end, they got the scores they needed to get to qualify.
“It is nice they each have two events to compete in at Trials,” Sandelin said. “A lot of people go in with an individual focus on one event, but since they’re so young, this is a great opportunity for them to get their feet wet because that’s what they want to do long term. It is a great experience and you never know, on any given day, they could put five amazing dives together and we’ll see what happens.”
A former Coral Springs Diving Club diver, Julia Wortman, who now attends Stanford University, is also competing in the Trials.