DIVING FOR GOLD

By Joselyn Garcia
 
Making three and-a-half back flips with a smooth landing, better known as the 3 1/2 pike, is just one dive that has Beach High senior Francisco “Hunter” Becerra on his way to the 2012 Olympics.

“There is no stopping what he is capable of,” Sunday Lewandowski, diving coach, said. “He is throwing tricks that are at the top of the top. He has no fear at every level of competition”

At the young age of thirteen Becerra placed third at the USA Junior Diving Region 7 Competition. Becerra has competed in diving competitions throughout high school, never finishing lower than first place in his three years at Districts. As a junior, he placed first at States and was named the number two high school diver in the country by USA Diving. However, due to injury, Becerra was unable to defend his title this year, finishing third.   

Hunter fell victim to a sprained right foot, putting his diving asirations on hold. “I basically iced my foot and was not able to walk for a couple of days.”  In addition to the sprain, Hunter explained he decided to take some time off to bring up his GPA. “I made up all of my work and my grades are back on track,” he said. 

For Becerra, diving is not only a school-based activity but a family one as well. “My dad was also a diver and therefore influenced me to dive at an early age of 8,” he said. Becerra’s family continues to motivate him and show their support by attending his meets.  

In preparation for difficult dives, Hunter modifies his state of mind. “I do get nervous some times. I am human,  but I tell myself I can beat him [the opposition]. I can do this. I can’t mess up,” Becerra explained.

Becerra’s talent and professional mindset has colleges lined up to recruit him for scholarships. “I want to go to either the University of Miami, University of Florida, or the University of Texas, because I do not like the cold weather, and would prefer to stay in the Southern region.”

In addition to diving at the collegiate level, Becerra still has his ultimate goal at heart.

“I have worked really hard to make it where I am today in the sport of diving, and I am determined to dive for the USA at the Olympics in 2012.”

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