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Published in Macalester Today
Photo: Christopher Mitchell
Most people don’t think of Alaska as a breeding ground for top divers, but Mac’s best diver, Renee Jordan ’14, hails from Anchorage. And she has chalked up some notable accomplishments in her time as a member of the women’s swimming and diving team.
Last spring she won the 3-meter diving competition and placed third on the 1-meter board at the NCAA Central Region Diving Meet. In addition, she was named MIAC Diver of the Year and qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships, held in Texas in late March.
Diving coach Jake Dunn, named MIAC Diving Coach of the Year, has nothing but praise for his diver. “Renee has one of the hardest list of dives on 3-meter for women’s Division III at the moment,” says Dunn. “When I tell her she needs to work on harder dives, she doesn’t shy away from it.”
Surprisingly, given her success, Jordan is still fairly new to diving. She spent most of her childhood training and competing as a gymnast, along with being a member of “a very active, outdoorsy family,” as she puts it.
In high school, however, Jordan gave up gymnastics and joined the swim team. After a “particularly boring set one day,” she began to think the divers were having more fun. “So I tried to do gymnastic tricks off the board,” she says, “and it actually worked really well.”
A team captain this year, Jordan holds all four school diving records. “She’s constantly striving to bring our swimmers and divers together into one cohesive team,” says swimming and diving head coach Beth Whittle. “She inspires her teammates with her work ethic and dedication to excellence.”
Improving her mental preparation has been another focus for Jordan lately. To achieve that, she has been working with golf coach Tomas Adalsteinsson, who has a master’s degree in sports psychology. “He’s helped her so she can be mentally prepared, execute, then move on to the next dive,” says Dunn.
Jordan’s confidence and focus also apply to her academic life, where she maintains a B average as a chemistry major and biology and philosophy minor. After Macalester, Jordan hopes to pursue a career in environmental chemistry.
Whether she’s in the classroom or on the diving board, Jordan exudes fearlessness. “She’s really a strong character,” says Dunn. “Determined and willing to go after what she wants.”
Some material taken from The Mac Weekly (Feb. 22, 2013), story by Ben Bartenstein and Daniel Ricci.