Last year Paige Albert hurled herself 30 feet in the air doing twists and flips all across Texas while landing on her own two feet. A three-sport athlete (field hockey, diving, lacrosse) and cheerleader at St. John's, Albert uses the athleticism and work ethic that once had her on track to Olympic level trampoline competition to propel the swimming program to new heights.
Last year she packed in 15 hours a week on her quest to make it to the 2012 Olympic Games. Now her goal is helping her Maverick swimming and diving team win SPC.
“I am honored to be able to dive for St. John’s,” said Albert. “I love that I am able to help my school while having fun. Coach Brown is such a wonderful coach and she has taught me everything. I am really looking forward to SPC in two weeks and hope to place in the competition and get points for SJS.”
According to her former gymnastics coach, Tom Brewer, “trampoline hinges on a fear factor and you cannot be afraid to bounce high, twist and leap to reach your full potential. Paige is not afraid to do what it takes to get there.”
"My gymnastics background makes me confident off the board," says Albert. "I’m not scared of flipping like novice divers usually are, even doing a move like the inward somersault going face forward doing a flip towards the board."
The only adjustment for her has been in the landing---head first and in water. Every thing else is just like bouncing on the trampoline with the familiar result of catching air space.
Divers are not very common in the swimming and diving program at St. John’s. Albert is the first diver to get on the board for St. John’s since 1996, and the third ever. “Having a diver in the lineup makes a big difference in the team scoring at the swimming and diving meets,” said swim team coach and program founder Stobie Whitmore. “Very few teams have divers and their scores can make the difference in the standings.”
Recently Paige finished 4th (152 pts) at the St. John’s Invitational and followed up with a 223 point performance, good enough for second at the John Cooper meet. “Albert is dramatically improving,” said Ron Raper, Head Swimming and Diving coach. “I would not be surprised to see her finish near the top, if not number 1.”
St. John’s currently hovers around 4th place in SPC based on their previous results against conference competition. St. Mark’s/Hockaday, Greenhill, and John Cooper are the teams to beat.
By transferring her landing on trampolines to pools, Paige has reversed the fortunes of the St. John’s swimming & diving team. With her comfort zone above the water, she adds a new phase of fearlessness in the program that could give the Mavericks a lift they have been seeking for quite some time. Her coaches are head over heels with the excitement of that possibility.
For more on Maverick diving coach June Brown click here.