Diving Collegiately: Fishell Faces New Challenges, Perseverance and Physical Strength
By: Emily Bondi
The day starts off with his alarm going off at 5:20a.m. He walks down to the athletic center usually texting his grandfather good morning who is getting a cup of hot coffee. Mason Fishell is a freshman diver at Kenyon College with a double major in math and physics. Fishell, a native from Murrysville, Pennsylvania started diving his freshman year of High School at Franklin Regional.
Fishell holds the school record for a six dive meet.
“My sophomore year I placed 3rd at counties and 5th at WPIALs, which qualified me for states. My junior year I placed 1st at counties and 8th at WPIALS, which wasn’t enough to make it to states. My senior year, I placed 2nd at counties, 5th at WPIALs, and 16th at states which made me an all-state diver.”
Fishell was able to accomplish a variety of records and titles while also running cross country, swimming and competing in high jump for the Track and Field team while in high school.
Fishell knew he didn’t want to give up diving when he graduated high school, so his college search began. He knew he wanted a small rural school with strong academics and wasn’t far from home.
“I have so much to thank my parents for, because they drove me to 10 different schools to see in person. When I arrived at Kenyon, it felt like I belonged there right away, and that feeling came back on my official overnight visit for diving. That was the biggest determining factor, for some reason, I just felt like I belonged at Kenyon, and I didn’t pick that up from any of the other schools.”
Fishell admits adjusting to college life with diving has been challenging. “The balance of working out, sleeping, and studying is much different and something I am not used to. Because we wake up so early, sleep is probably the biggest challenge.”
The diving and academic schedule keeps Fishell busy. Most days start at 5:20 a.m. with a morning lift and swim before class. Followed with an afternoon workout that lasts about two hours.
Fishell is eager to learn new dives as he has been adjusting to diving at the college level.
“I never dove 3 meter in high school because it wasn't an event, but it is in college. Like every diver, I’ve had my fair share of smacks, it happens to everyone. I was surprised to learn how much it hurts to smack off 3 meters. It's a different type of pain, and it hurts more than your skin. In my experience, you can also feel it in your lungs and spine. It does hurt your skin too, obviously, on some occasions, I have felt like I've gotten a bad sunburn for a couple hours even after the smack. I guess I just wasn’t expecting 2 meters to make that much of a difference. It gives me an unbelievable amount of respect for those who dive on 10 meters, those people are just crazy.”
Fishell does hope to make it to the division three national championships at some point in his college career.
Diving is very much a single person sport but Fishell has learned how he acts when faced with fear and competition.
“Fear is the biggest challenge. Diving is a very very mental sport. You need guts. No one can make you do a dive but you. I was a swimmer also, and in swimming there is no fear. Sure, you may be nervous you won’t swim well, but nobody gets up and is scared they're going to hurt themselves. Diving, on the other hand, is all about fear and more importantly, fear management. Especially after smacking again and again, it is hard not to get up and fear that you're going to hurt yourself. Also, diving takes incredible amounts of physical strength and spatial awareness to compete in. This combined with the unbelievable mental aspect, is why I think diving is one of the hardest sports and I can’t help but give credit to those who are top tier. There is little that I have experienced that has been as difficult as standing on the board to do a tough dive after just falling flat on the water previously.”
Fishell has faced many challenges while diving but continues to get back on the board because flying in the air is something he loves to do.
“The biggest thing is overcoming fear and being confident in my training. Perseverance when I just don’t think I can do it again is also something I strive for and believe is applicable to many aspects of life.”
Fishell also credits his high school coach Frank Nelson who has been supportive of his diving career.
“We talk on the phone and he even drove out 3 hours to watch me dive. I can’t give him enough credit for who he is as a coach and a person.”
Fishell is excited for the opportunity to dive at the collegiate level and continues learning and growing as a person both on and off the board.
Good luck to Kenyon this season!
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