Alvaranga considers diving
Olympian Yona Knight-Wisdom’s success has left an impression on the local aquatic community, most notably national junior swimmer Zaneta Alvaranga.
While participating in an opening training session with the Pan American Games silver medallist recently, Alvaranga said that Wisdom’s accomplishments have increased her enthusiasm for the sport, expressing that the training session was an eye-opener for her.
“I have more interest in diving now,” Alvaranga told The Gleaner. “I’ve always found diving fascinating and I’ve always wondered how they (springboard divers) train, so seeing him here was a really good experience and I enjoyed watching him.”
Along with members of the Kaizen Swim Club, she observed and asked questions during the sessions at the National Aquatic Centre as Knight-Wisdom continued his preparations for the upcoming season. It will be a year focused heavily on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in July. Alvaranga says that she was privileged to have interacted with him and believes that his achievements will increase the profile of the sport further.
“I think him being in the sport is very good for Jamaica and good for black people in the water sports area,” she said.
Her budding interest and excitement for the sport has been welcomed by Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica president Martin Lyn, who was present during the open training sessions. He said Knight-Wisdom’s visit had the desired effect that he hoped for to inspire and develop a new generation of divers.
“This is what I wanted to encourage, having Yona come to Jamaica and perform,” Lyn said. “And what Jamaicans were seeing is an Olympian, Pan Am Games medallist diving, not just someone who hasn’t reached certain pinnacles of diving. He has already been there. So him coming here and showing everybody what they can achieve in the field of diving was spectacular.”
Although she is fully focused on her performances in the pool this year, Alvaranga’s coach and father, Rory Alvaranga, says if her interest is serious enough and the coaching is reputable, then he would have no problems allowing her to take up the discipline.
“She’s an amphibian,” he said.” She is at home on land and in the water. If she has developed an interested, and if we have competent coaches, then sure I would allow her in that arena.”
Zaneta will turn her attention the UANA Cup, which takes place in Lima, Peru, starting on February 19, then she continues her season which includes Carifta and Central American and Caribbean Swimming Federation championships.
Alvaranga is the junior record holder in the 13-14 age group 50m freestyle with a time of 26.34 seconds.