First-year student Megan Thai has made a name for herself as a member of the Whittier College Diving team. Thai is the first diver since Hall of Famer Charlotte Kochman (Class of 1991) and the only first-year to compete in the Swimming and Diving National Championship. Thai shared that her love for the sport runs deep. “I came from a really competitive background of diving because I have two other siblings in the sport,” she said. As time has continued on, Thai has grown more confident, and this has further motivated her to continue diving in clubs and competing in Nationals in North Carolina. “When I came [to Whittier], I knew what I wanted, so I worked really hard for it, and it felt pretty good,” she said.
As a high school student going into college, Thai had to make the difficult choice of where she wanted to attend. Stuck between Cal Poly Pomona and Whittier, Thai was “not ready to let go of diving,” so she chose Whittier. After meeting with Diving Coach Kaeden Kraft, Thai joined the team. Once on the team, Thai would see herself competing against high competition and playing in the playoffs.
On Feb. 17, the Women’s three-meter competition was hosted by Pomona-Pitzer in Haldeman Pool, and Thai scored 447.50, taking top place — beating members from top schools like Pomona-Pitzer, Chapman University, Claremont Mudd-Scripps, and University of Redlands.
Diving is a sport that few people can succeed in. Instead of diving from your standard diving board, Thai must jump from an 8-foot board, but she can’t get enough of it. “I just like the thrill and the rush of it,” she said. “You never really know exactly how you are going to complete the dive. You could have done your dive a million times, but you could always mess up.”
March 2, the Swimming and Diving Regional Championships were held in Iowa.
Though Thai hadn’t planned on attending Regionals, Coach Kraft convinced her to go. As a result, Thai placed number eight in the Regional Championships, finishing number five in three-meter and scoring a 355.30 on the 1-meter, allowing her to qualify for the National Championships. During the season, Thai continued to wow, picking up four head-to-head wins against Pomona-Pitzer, Occidental College, University of Redlands, and California Lutheran University.
Once she qualified for the National Championships, Thai made the trip to Greensboro, North Carolina. “I went from 30 degree weather outside [the facility], then would jump into the pool, where it felt like it was 100,” she said.
Thai was the only Poet at the Championships. Thai had a great experience competing, and, subsequently, placed number 26 — adding yet another win to her already impressive rookie season. It’s obvious by her numbers and her attitude that Thai’s colors truly shined this year.
We will continue to follow her success as she works hard towards next season.