The Florida State junior, a former Shorecrest High School athlete, learned to dive at the King County Aquatic Center, and she hopes it gives her an edge.
Diving wasn’t the first sport Katrina Young fell in love with. Before plunging headfirst off platforms, the Shoreline native was landing on gymnastics floor mats.
It wasn’t until her older sister, Samantha, took swimming lessons that Young fell in love with the sport.
Samantha flourished on the diving board and soon joined a team. Young eventually chose platform diving over gymnastics and joined her sister at Pacific Northwest diving.
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A junior on the Florida State diving team, the 20-year-old Young returns home with a chance this week to make the U.S. Olympic team in the women’s 10-meter platform. The trials will be at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, where Young started developing her technique.
“I think I spent more time at that pool than I did at home during the daytime,” she said.
Young quickly excelled in diving. The silver medalist at the 2005 junior Pan American Games was a member of the 2006 Junior World team.
Young suffered a setback when she broke her right leg on the diving board in her sophomore year at Shorecrest High School. She felt pain in her leg before the event, which turned out to be a fracture that doctors didn’t catch in X-rays.
“It was pretty devastating, because I was on a good path with my diving,” she said, “but I knew that I was going to continue with it even when I was in the hospital just because I love diving so much. I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”
During her two-year absence from diving, Young watched film on the sport and joined the weightlifting team to rebuild strength in her leg. She was named best female lifter at her high school’s weightlifting championships.
She returned to diving in 2009 and placed fifth in the national championships. She gained attention from college recruiters, eventually picking Florida State. But she never recovered mentally from her injury until the end of last season.
She thanks her diving coach, Patrick Jeffrey, for helping her.
“He’s the most stress-relieving coach ever,” Young said. “I can’t imagine diving with anyone else.”
Jeffrey said he found the fine line between how much to push Young without making her feel unsatisfied. The result: Young got the first gold medal on the platform for the Seminoles at the ACC championships, broke her school record in the event, helped the team earn its first ACC gold since 2008 and earned All-America honors with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA meet. That earned her an invitation to the Olympic trials.
“I just yelled at her a lot,” Jeffery joked. “She’s a great competitor and when she gets into competitive situations, it’s a lot of fun to watch her because she just comes alive.”
It’s the main reason Jeffery is excited to see her dive at the Olympic trials. Young and Jeffery believe it’s an open field. The top two qualify for the Olympics in London this summer.
Young learned new dives for the trials, and Jeffery believes she’s well prepared.
Since enrolling at Florida State, she hasn’t been at the King County Aquatic Center in nearly three years, but her expectations are higher due to her familiarity with the facility.
Her experiences there include everything from singing and dancing to competing in pool games with teammates, but Young wants to add another memory.
“I think she’s ready to bring everything she’s got,” Jeffery said.