Triangle divers find new ways to train without pool amid COVID-19

Athletic facilities are slowly starting to reopen at different speeds around the country. Area divers are hopeful of a return to the pool soon especially those with Olympic dreams like 14-year-old Avery Worobel.

In a typical week, Avery, who's on the Duke Diving club team, spends 5 hours a day training, six days a week. For the first time since she started diving eight years ago, access to water dried up.

"It's been sad because it's my favorite thing to do and not being able to do it is very heartbreaking," said Worobel.

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Nobody knows when Avery can add to her six national titles and five Junior Pan American gold medals. For now, Avery is forced to train in her West Cary backyard.

"I can still find other things that are sort of related to it like going on the trampoline or doing flips on the ground," said Worobel.

Nicholas Sweet picked up diving just as things started shutting down. Now he's learning through Zoom instruction and focusing on strength and conditioning.

"It's been kind of difficult, but coaches make it easier through the videos and Zoom calls," said Sweet. "I've tried to do dives at my pool and my neighborhood does not work. The board is not the same. "

Carrboro High Cchool graduate and fellow Duke club diver Clarie McDaniels also coaches. She said it's hard to come up with enough exercises.

"Being a diver, I know how boring it is to just go and do it over and over again so it definitely difficult to find a way to keep them engaged."

Claire is diving at Pitt next year assuming campus fully opens and competition can resume. As for Avery, she has learned a valuable lesson - an appreciation that may not have existed until now.

"It's taught me that I'm very lucky to have the sport. With the help of my parents, my family and all of my friends I'm lucky enough to have this opportunity and I'm very grateful for it."

Avery is holding out hope that the World Junior Diving Championships can go on as planned at the end of November in the Ukraine where she could be a medal contender.

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