Los Fresnos News

Los Fresnos diver Hernandez makes history by earning trip to state

Los Fresnos diver Anapaula Hernandez had a marvelous season as she qualifed for the UIL state swimming and diving championships, which were held in Austin on Feb. 14-15. Photos: Mark Molina/LFN

By MARK MOLINA / LFN

While reviewing the season Los Fresnos first-year diver Anapaula Hernandez has had, one would think she was a natural by the way she comes off the springboard and executes her dives with ease.

Hernandez has made the transition from swimmer to full-time diver look seamless with a third-place finish in the girls 1-meter dive at the Region VIII-6A meet on Feb. 1, becoming the first Los Fresnos female to qualify for the Class 6A state swim meet in the event.

But even with the early success, Hernandez will be the first to say that her journey was anything but easy

“The whole season has been a lot of improvement because I just started diving this season,” she said. “From the first day to right now, there has been so much improvement that I can’t believe it myself, to be honest. I feel really accomplished because of everything I’ve done and all the work that my coaches have put into (helping) me.”

Despite all the hard work, the path from the lanes to the diving platform was an easy one for Hernandez, who took a tryout with little to lose and parlayed it into a memorable season.

“The previous diving captain invited me to come over and try the basics to see if I wanted to stick to it,” she recalled. “I agreed to try it, not really thinking I was going to stay with it. I just came to socialize. I started learning and I said, ‘hey, it’s not that bad.’ Then tryouts came around and I got on the team. From there, I picked everything up and started to improve.”

Hernandez made big improvements at the two biggest meets of the season, scoring 215 points and placing third at the District 32-6A meet in late January before recording a 243.40 to secure a spot at the UIL state swimming and diving championships, which were held Feb. 14 and 15 in Austin.

Los Fresnos swim coach Jaime Perez said Hernandez’s season has been a good representation of what he believes is an up-and-coming dive team thanks to the addition of dive coach and former butterfly swimmer Stefanie Esquibel.

“Our diving program is just starting to blossom because of our new diving coach Stefanie Esquibel; I am very blessed to have her on our coaching staff,” Perez said. “Anapaula is self-motivated. She just started diving last year, but we could see that she would make it based on her dedication and desire to be her best. She’s one of our diving leaders and leads by example along with our dive captain Garrett Callison.”

Hernandez has been humbled by the experience and hopes that her journey to state can inspire others to take a look at the sport of diving.

“I feel really happy and really satisfied, but there is much work to be done,” she said. “I also feel like more people should try (diving). I know not everyone can do it, which I understand, but I hope that with me going to state, more people will want to join the sport and maybe we can start qualifying more in the future. That would be pretty cool for the school.”

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