All five of the current pole vaulters on the women’s track and field team and three out of five divers on the women’s swim team competed in gymnastics for at least 10 years before leaving the sport and beginning their careers in brand-new events. Both sports — pole vaulting and diving — require similar strength, spatial and body awareness, and mental toughness that gymnastics instills in athletes, similarities that make for a natural transition between the sports.
This trend is not a new one, either. Graduate student Katherine Pitman competed for the college’s gymnastics team during her freshman year but was cut as a sophomore. She went on to win three national championships in pole vault and currently holds the Division III national record at 4.31 meters. Lindsay Suddaby and Alyssa Wishart, graduate students and former divers, also came from gymnastics backgrounds. The pair qualified for nationals last season and placed sixth and 22nd respectively.