Augustana’s diving team is as small as a team can be, consisting of one man and one woman.
Senior Joshua Wielenga and junior Megan McGregor are coached by diving coach Aimee Moylan.
This is Wielenga’s fourth year on the team. His hometown is Apple Valley, MN, where he attended Apple Valley High School. During his freshman year, there were ten students on the diving team, but for the remaining three years, his team consisted of three people.
Wielenga said he prefers the smaller team atmosphere. Having experienced both accounts, he has realized that with fewer members, teams are able to have a closer connection and develop genuine friendships with each another.
This is McGregor’s second year on the diving team. She competed her first year at Augustana College, and left the team after three meets last year. McGregor returned this year after a text from the diving coach encouraging her to return, saying that with the new coach the team would be different.
“I felt unneeded pressure from diving,” said McGregor on her decision to leave the team last year. “With the new coach it is a more laid back team. It is more of a stress reliever this year rather than adding stress.”
McGregor started her athletic career as a gymnast. When she came to Augustana, she said she missed the team atmosphere and took up diving, thus using her background in gymnastics to help her in the sport.
With the team of two, McGregor and Wielenga now say they are more than just teammates, they are friends.
“He is like my brother,” said McGregor. “He is driven and will work hard to get a dive.”
The two have a friendly competition, despite the gender difference. McGregor says that when Wielenga does well that pushes her to do well on her next dive. Because there is just the two of them, they are also able to give one another more advice on diving.
“She is not scared to dive,” said Wielenga on his teammate. “I get nervous trying new dives, but she will get it out of the way and do it.”
Last year, the team lost all-conference diver Helen Myers due to her graduating.
“I miss Helen a lot,” said McGregor. “She was a good mentor and we had fun throughout the season.”
“I had always been a bit of a third wheel when Helen was here,” said Wielenga. “Although she was a good diver, her graduating has allowed my friendship with McGregor to strengthen.”
Even though diving is considered a different part of the sport, the divers are still a part of the swim team.
“Megan has really stepped up this year since we lost a big player,” said David Sommers, a junior on the swim team. “Helen was like a mother. Now, Megan has stepped up as a leader. The divers are with us at almost every meet. They are both vital to the swim team.”
Both McGregor and Wielenga are hopeful for the season and believe that they are starting off well.
“The best part of diving is when I learn a new dive and compete and earn good scores on it,” said McGregor. “It is a good feeling knowing that I did a good, hard, dive well.”