Katherine Nicole Lim’s latest performance in the Central Coast Section Swimming and Diving Championships is a testament to her will, laser-like focus and athleticism.
The Sobrato High junior nearly won the diving final on May 4 at the Santa Clara Swim Center, finishing with 481.95 points, less than half a point behind winner Joey Lee of Prospect High. Last season, Lim finished sixth with 455.60 points and two years ago as a freshman she placed fifth but with a lower point total, 429.45.
The progressive improvement in her point total has coincided with Lim’s all-around improvement, both in her physical skills and mental strength.
“I’m more mature and experienced in how I handle competition,” she said. “I’ve learned to have fun, just relax and enjoy what’s going on in the moment.”
Lim has advanced to the CIF State Championships May 11-13 at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex on the campus of Clovis West High School. She enters the competition as the No. 6 seed. On the swimming side, Sobrato’s Zoe Childers also qualified for State in the 200-yard individual medley after finishing in eighth place in the CCS Meet in 2 minutes, 5.70 seconds.
Childers also placed eighth in the 100 butterfly in 56.45, another strong result in what has become an outstanding sophomore season. For Lim, the Blossom Valley Athletic League Finals the previous week prepared her to do well in CCS.
The league meet was six hours long, a marathon compared to the CCS event. Eleven dives are scored for a diver’s final point total, and Lim said she was pleased with the majority of her attempts because she was consistent.
Lim scored high on a back 1 ½ pike and also showed off a new dive, a front 1 ½ double twist, that served as one of her top dives in degree of difficulty.
“Usually when I try a new dive, I’m nervous at first, but I ended up doing well,” she said. “I was very consistent in warm-ups and by the time I competed, I focused and brought myself together. I was very consistent and was having a lot of fun.”
Lim has made sure to remind herself to have fun, whether she’s diving in practice or in competition. The sport can be such a grind sometimes, so keeping things on the lighter side helps Lim stay fresh mentally. Lim’s outlook and superior conditioning paid off in the CCS Finals as some of her chief competitors were fading on their final dives.
“Usually you do get tired over time and nervous at the end of the competition, so the last three dives I put an effort and focus to make sure they were good,” she said.
Lim credited her family members for encouraging her and constantly telling her to eat and drink to keep her energy levels up, which is vital during an hours-long competition. Lim also credited Sobrato diving coach Jeff Olivetti and her Santa Clara Diving club coach Todd Spohn for guiding her to newfound heights.
Though high school diving competition is done on a 1-meter springboard, Lim is adept across all the different diving disciplines: 3-meter springboard and 5/7/10 meter platform.
“I’ve been working on being more well-rounded, jumping higher, being more consistent in my dives and focusing on form,” she said. “Also getting tighter on pikes and flexibility, because the higher I jump, the more dives I can learn in the future. I’ve also been focusing on strength and working out, going to the gym a lot.”
All the hard work has been paying off for Lim who is enjoying the best season of her burgeoning career.
All ‘Hail’ LO sophomore
Alex Hail won both paralympic mixed races in the CCS Championships, taking the 50-yard free in 31.04 seconds and the 100 free in 1:08.88.
He has the No. 2 seed time in both events in the CIF State Championships. Hail has a personal-best 1:08.50 in the 100 free, which is around 10 seconds faster from what he was doing at this point last year. He’s also swimming the 50 free three seconds faster compared to a year ago.
“Alex was very excited and pumped up [to win CCS],” Live Oak coach Tom Lebherz said. “He’s worked hard for this and we’re very proud of him.”