Nov. 26, 2013
Lucy Negash `15
Finding a successful synchronized diving pair in University of Notre Dame women's diving sophomores Emma Gaboury and Lindsey Streepey was a happy accident.
"We were just messing around during one of our practices last year when one of our coaches suggested we try doing a dive together, just for fun. We have really similar forms and sizes, so it just seemed like a good match," recalls Gaboury.
The rest was history. The two ladies went on to be the first synchronized diving team from Notre Dame to compete at the USA Diving National Championships, doing so this past August and placing 10th out of 16 against other extremely qualified divers that were also former friends.
Both Gaboury and Streepey had done synchronized diving in high school, but there were different adjustments to be made to learn each other's styles and forms to be competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference and within USA Diving.
"We had to make modifications to our timing, hurdles and presses," says Streepey. "There were lots of little tweaks to adapt to, but we both had a lot of baseline things in common that didn't make it too difficult."
Though the divers may come from different geographic areas (Streepey is from Dallas, Texas and Gaboury is from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), they both fell in love with the sport early on. For Streepey, diving ran in her family and she found that it was a natural fit for her. Gaboury was a young gymnast that tried diving on a whim in middle school and soon made it a big part of her life.
They also both share their love of Notre Dame and everything that the school has to offer, both athletically and academically.
"I actually planned on going to [the University of] Michigan -- I had trained there before and basically had a spot on the team, but I just fell in love with Notre Dame when I came to visit. It had the perfect blend of academics and athletics, and I loved the team chemistry and dynamics," mentions Gaboury.
Once at Notre Dame, the two divers had successful freshman years and developed an even closer friendship. Before every meet the dive team has their own pep talk and cheer...in their own squeaky voice.
"We like to set ourselves apart, so once we do the whole team cheer, the divers separate and do our own cheer: we yell "Irish" in our squeakiest voices. No one knows where it came from, but it's stuck," says Streepey.
Though the girls need to match from head to toe when it comes to their dives, Streepey and Gaboury have different approaches to their pre-meet regimens.
"I just like to stay calm, splash my suit with water, rub my hands together and just go. I try not to think about the dive to come," says Gaboury.
On the other hand, Streepey relies on a special diving shammy to inspire and motivate her.
"When I came to college my mom gave me a diving shammy with the Texas flag on it," said the Highland Park alum. "This way, I can remember home and all of the people that helped me get to where I am today."
Regardless of the method, these sophomores have been making a big splash so far this season. The diving team this year has stepped up their training to compete with their new opponents in the ACC, which paid off in their recent successes, such as their win over No. 24 Wisconsin.
Between the two this season, they have won three individual events and finished runner-up six times in addition to winning the 3-meter synchronized diving event together at the Dennis Stark Relays.
"The only place we can go is up," says Gaboury. "We work hard but we also try to focus on having fun. I was told by a Notre Dame coach that we should soak it in and enjoy these four years, because they'll be the best four years of our sport...and it's already been going by too fast."
The Irish will close out the fall portion of their schedule Dec. 6-8 when they attend the elite Hawkeye Invitational hosted by the University of Iowa.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team check out Facebook (/NDwSwimmingDiving) and Twitter (@NDwSwimming).