Sophomore health sciences major Stella Fairbanks had a productive diving season after she was named the Summit League Women’s Diving MVP of the Championships and secured a Summit League Championship for the second year in a row. Fairbanks also ended her second season at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships where she finished No. 32.
Fairbanks was not always involved in diving, however she used to be a gymnast. After she stopped gymnastics, Fairbanks said she was eager to find a new sport she would love.
“One of my old friends who I did gymnastics with, she told me about diving and how she really liked it after she quit gymnastics. I thought I would give it a try and it just turned out that I loved the sport, too,” Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks said she enjoys diving because of her past in gymnastics and she loves being able to “fly through the air.”
“I really like flipping and having that spatial awareness in the air before I hit the water. It is pretty awesome. I would say that I definitely give credit to gymnastics and being able to have that background. (Gymnastics) really helped me keep on the love of flying through the air in the sport as well,” Fairbanks said.
During Fairbanks’ first two years at USD, she said the NCAA Zone Diving Championships (Zones) was bigger than the other meets she had competed in and she was slightly overwhelmed.
“I guess (NCAA Zone Diving Championship was) very different from Summit League, I was able to understand the pressure of a big meet sort of. From Summit League, I was able to change, not my attitude, but the feeling of like, let’s have some fun with it as well as stay focused,” Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks has multiple accomplishments under her belt including Summit League honor roll and earning All-Summit League honors in both diving events at the Summit League Championships. Among her many accomplishments, Fairbanks has also been named Summit League women’s diver of the week five times.
“It’s really great. I’m so appreciative of all the hard work that I put into this sport is paying off and I get to see it,” Fairbanks said. “I’m very thankful for all of my coaches this year, last year and even in the past. How each coach has helped me achieve my success and helped me to this point.
Fairbanks’ sister Isabel swims for the Coyotes and is Fairbanks’ biggest influence. She said they are able to share what they love together and encourage each other from the sidelines.
“I love to look up to her and see how far she’s grown in swimming and to be able to share that with her at all of our past meets this year,” Fairbanks said. “It’s great to have someone that I’m so close to while I’m doing the sport that I love and share that with them in a way.”
With the conclusion of the season, Fairbanks said she plans on working hard to learn newer and harder dives, increasing her degree of difficulty and having fun next season.