Rachael Hicks admits she is a bundle of energy. She started diving only three years ago.
This doesn’t seem like a formula to produce the state’s best high school diver, but that’s what the Sunrise Mountain junior was in 2010.
“I’m like the most hyper person. I’m always bouncing off the walls,” she said. “Usually, I just sit on the board and take a deep breath. Then I just picture the dive in my head and I go.”
Hicks bested the state’s deepest field in September at the Brophy/Xavier Invitational. Then, she posted the highest score of any girl in the process of winning the Division II state championship in November.
“Once I won Brophy, I was so pumped for state,” Hicks said. “Once I was going into the finals as the first diver, I was like ‘No, I don’t want to be first going into finals, because now I have to keep the lead.’”
Hicks’ ascent to the top of the podium has been swift. In her first year of competitive diving, 2008, she placed 12th in the 5A-II finals. Last year, she jumped to third in 4A-I.
She was able to continue her upward trajectory against more talented competition this season. Hicks said the big difference in 2010 was her improved consistency, which allowed her to increase the degree of difficulty for her program.
Hicks credits her coaches at Sunrise and the Cenvedistas del Sol club with molding her from an athlete who dives into a diver. Also, in a way, the club helped Hicks scout her competition. Cactus senior Katie Dallman and Tucson Catalina Foothills senior Izzy Diamond are also club members.
Dallman and Hicks, in particular, have developed a friendly rivalry in recent years. Dallman came into the state meet as the defending 4A-II state champion, but left in second place.
“I’ve competed against Katie since my freshman year,” Hicks said. “Once I won, it was the best feeling of relief especially because they were seniors and I was a junior.”
Hicks has already started her club diving slate. Her other goal for the spring is to get her name out there more, putting together a highlight video for bigger colleges. She said only small colleges have contacted her so far.
Hicks said she works on her dives almost every day and won’t slow down with a state title in her trophy case.
“I need to keep working harder because people are just going to get better and better,” she said.