The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Taking the big plunge

Fifteen years ago, Wendell Perkins never imagined that his love for splashing in the water would carry him to the state championships.

He came here in the spring of 2004, and after only one semester, has proved that his love and dedication for what he considers a hobby is the driving force behind his success.

“Diving has been a hobby of mine since I was twenty and up until now. I’ve done it off and on,” the 35-year-old Richmond, Virginia native said.

However, he said his enthusiasm for swimming began as young as 2 years old when he took his first leap off the diving board in a family pool.

In the short span that Perkins has been here, he has managed not only to gain recognition in at least three major diving competitions, but he also broke the college’s 6-5 dual meet record.

“In the dual meet, we do half dives and it’s one team against another, so I ended up beating the old EC record of two hundred by forty-five points,” Perkins said.

Not bad for a former teacher and coach who said he’s “probably received more awards and recognition for art than for diving.”

Adding further to his repertoire of accomplishments, Perkins took second place in the 3-meter and third place in the 1-meter diving at the recent state championships.

He won first place in the 1-meter dive at the South Coast Tournament, scoring a record 387.65, has been named diver of the year and is positioned in the Top 8 of the All- American Divers.

“I wasn’t so sure if I would be allowed to dive in college because they have age restrictions in certain divisions, but once I found out I could, I was confident that I would win,” Perkins said.

He said being overconfident might have affected him negatively. He said that being overconfident caused him to put forth less than his best effort.

But when it comes to having doubts about his performance, Perkins said there are times when he has to do some dives that he feels uncomfortable about. His biggest fear is getting injured.

“I get a bit shaken on certain dives and I think that was my downfall at the finals,” Perkins said.

“My reverse dives are the ones that definitely terrify me because that’s what I was doing when I hurt my hand on the board during training.”

However, he said it will probably take doing those dives another 300 times before he realizes he has no reason to be scared.

“When any diver stands on the boards, it will look like he or she is completely confident, but there is always one dive that they fear, but you’ll never know it,” Perkins said.

Nonetheless, swim coach Corey Stanbury said Perkins devotes a great deal of time and effort into his training both physically and psychologically.

“He lives, sleeps, eats and breathes diving,” Stanbury said.

On the other hand, Perkins said although he loves diving, he is also interested in art sculpture and is studying science so that he can become a nurse.

Perkins said while he enjoys coaching and teaching, being a nurse would allow him to help others and get paid more.

With the final competition behind him, Perkins said he plans to maintain his standards by continuing his practice and looks forward to next year so that he can close the gap between him and his competitors.

As one of the best divers on the team, Perkins looks forward to coming back and performing well.

“Winning in a dive meet by ten points makes you wonder if you really won, but if you win by twenty points, then you know for sure that you’ve won,” Perkins said.

“Diving will be something I will do as long as I can walk, but I’ll probably coach,” he said. “If I had it my way, I’d dive and make art all day.”

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