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Terrific Diving Trio: Lauren Lombardo, Sara Fowler and Lexi Byczko

This fall the girls’ diving team is racking up their NVL points early and this trio of talent is only getting started.

Sara Fowler, a senior at Woodland, has been on the diving board since her freshman year. Most would think twisting upside-down ten feet over a pool of water as terrifying, but to Fowler it’s a passion. You can always find Fowler’s family cheering at every meet, but her loudest support group would be found on the swim bench.

“We are sisters. We work together as a team and even if we loose, we loose as team,” explains Clara Atallah, a fellow member of the swim team and senior at Woodland.

As with all athletes, Fowler’s success comes from hard work and practice. She dives everyday on a club team on off-season to be sure she doesn’t fall behind. Fowler prepares physically and mentally from the months leading up to the meet to just minutes before she gets on the board.

Fowler has shown great success and improvement this year, already racking up dives to qualify for the NVLs. “My goal for the season is to finish my senior year feeling like I couldn’t have done any better,” says Fowler.

Fowler certainly isn’t the only great athlete on the board. Lauren Lombardo, junior at Woodland, has been working towards her success since she was two years old. As a small child Lombardo followed in her family’s footsteps by taking gymnastics. During her freshman year at Woodland, she carried over those skills to the girls’ diving team.

Just as Lombardo’s family encouraged her through gymnastics, they stand by her diving just as much.

“Whenever I have I mental block or am overthinking a dive, they find a way to help me get past it and believe that I can do it,” says Lombardo.

Along with swim practice five days a week, Lombardo puts in an extra four days to focus on gymnastics and building her strength. Lombardo puts in the work and sees the results. Similar to Fowler, she is also close to qualifying for NVLs. She hopes to up her difficulty level for dives in upcoming meets.

To top off this diving trio, Lexie Byczko, brings great skill and a desire to improve to the girls’ team. She began diving her sophomore year and explains how she finds it fun and exciting yet still challenging.

Byczko is only two dives away from qualifying in the NVLs and can dive the forward dive, inwards, reverse summersault, half twists, one-and-a-half twist, and back summersaults. You will always find Byczko ‘s family screaming for her on the stands.

The diver explains her close relationship with her team, “We are always supporting each other and telling each other we can do anything we set our minds to.”

While other students prepare for their upcoming school year, Byczko is training and competing competitively from the end of summer to late October. She works for months conditioning herself and get to her body to a good state for the dives but once she hits the board she begins to prepare herself mentally. She tunes out everything, focusses on the task in front of her, and then dives.

Byczko has been executing dives spectacularly, and hopes to continue to through out the rest of the season.

The girls make one amazing team and will continue finding success.

“I hope to see these girls continue in their winning ways,” says Doug Mariano, diving coach at Woodland. “They are determined and usually take either first or second. I hope to see them continue doing the same.”

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UPDATE: At the time of writing this article, all three athletes were still participating in competitive diving. Currently, due to injury, Lexie Byckzo and Lauren Lombardo are not diving, but hope to take diving back up next season for their senior year. Sarah Fowler will be diving at NVLs and may even take a spot in States.

Julia Caruso

Julia is our Executive Yearbook Designer and Photographer, and she has spent four full semesters at Hawk Headlines. She loves her dogs, Missy and Champ, and sometimes goes by the alter ego "Culia Jaruso".

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