This week, USA Diving is holding the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The competition will be tough. Only 14 spots will be awarded and approximately 120 of America's top elite divers are expected to compete. Among those competing for a chance to represent the United States in London are several athletes who were homeschooled for at least part of their education.
Homeschooling flexibility aids training
Training for the USA Diving team is rigorous. Senior level divers are expected to practice over 20 hours a week. This combined with a traditional school schedule would be draining. Fortunately, many student athletes are able to take advantage of homeschool options, either through one-on-one tutoring with a parent or private instructor or through an online school.
Many of the hopefuls for the 2012 Olympic team live and train at the USA Diving Training Center in Indianapolis. Those who are still completing high school often choose to do so through a homeschooling option that accommodates the many diving meets and exhibitions required by their level of competition. They still meet all the requirements of an ordinary high school curriculum, but on a schedule that is flexible enough to allow them to also pursue their athletic goals.
Homeschooled divers to watch
The list of competing divers this week is long, but here are a few standout divers who are either currently homeschooled or were homeschooled for part of their education. These big names in diving stand a very good chance of making it to the 2012 Olympic Team.
David Boudia - Left public school to homeschool for his last two years of high school and focus on his diving career at age 16. Participated in the 2008 Olympics, narrowly missing a medal with partner Thomas Finchum. Dominated NCAA diving before turning pro in 2011 to concentrate on his training for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Haley Ishimatsu - Trained at the National Training Center before the 2008 Olympics. 2012 would be her second time to compete in the Olympic Games. Ishimatsu is one of only three women to perform a back 3 ½ pike, a dive usually done only by men. She told a reporter in 2008, "I've heard that high school social life is really just over-rated."
Thomas Finchum - Paired with David Boudia in the 2008 Olympics for a near miss, but hopes to win a medal in 2012. Finchum was homeschooled in academics and even in diving for a while. His grandmother, a former competitive diver, taught him his first dives.
Kelci Bryant - Barely missed a medal at the 2008 Olympics. Bryant is determined to bring one home in 2012. After a year and a half of commuting four hours each way to train with her coach, Bryant moved to Indianapolis and homeschooled before the last Olympics. Afterward, she followed her coach to the University of Minnesota where she won two NCAA titles.
Anna James - Only fifteen years old, James has already performed well in international competition. This homeschooled teen from Midland, Texas is part of the U.S. National Team and is definitely one to watch.
More by Tavia:
Tavia Fuller Armstrong is a lifelong fan of the Olympic Games with a pair of unused tickets to the 1996 Olympics and old photos of commemorative childhood haircuts to prove it.