Because Geneva Handziak changed schools, she had to switch sports, too.
After attending Port Washington as a freshman and competing in gymnastics, the Lutheran junior is in her first season as a diver on the swim team because the Crusaders do not offer her favorite sport.
“I decided it was the closest thing I could do to that,” she said. “I really started to like it when I started it, but it was a little rough at first.”
Handziak transferred last year but could not join her new team because she lives in Belgium and did not have her driver’s license yet.
Her parents also worked during the time morning practice would be.
So she waited until this past summer to attend two sessions of the Kohler/Lutheran/Falls co-op team’s diving camp. Handziak had been doing gymnastics since sixth grade but had not been on a diving board since the fourth.
“It was terrifying,” she said. “I was really excited to try a new sport, but the whole diving board itself just seemed really intimidating. It was scary at first, but the more time you have on the board, the more confident you get.”
There were some mental blocks that came with the switch, Handziak says, especially since she was used to landing on the ground but now had to jump into water.
“So at first, I would keep my arms up going into the water when they’re supposed to be at your side and stuff,” she said. “That was a big thing that me and my coach had to work on, because my arms would always go up to the ceiling. And then I always felt like I was going to land on ground, so I would pull my knees up. But the whole flipping aspect of it probably helped quite a bit.
“Seeing from where I started in the beginning of the season and where I’ve progressed to now is like pretty crazy.”
Handziak has finished second and third in two meets, and was joined by a teammate to also place second in a relay meet at South.
“I’m surprised with some of the dives that I’ve been getting,” she said. “It’s really scary to try at first, but you get the repetition in and you feel more confident. I’m really proud how much I’ve progressed this season.”
TAUSCHECK RETURNS: Lutheran’s other swimmer on the squad is senior Maddie Tauscheck, who is in her fourth varsity season.
Last year, she took fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke and sixth in the 200 individual medley at the conference championship meet.