March 25, 2014 4:46 pm
Updated: March 26, 2014 8:42 am

Oak Park grad making a splash

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WINNIPEG – Aimee Harrison is enjoying the good life in the tropics.

“Every day you’re in shorts and a T-shirt,” said Harrison.

The Oak Park High School grad is on a diving scholarship at the University of Hawaii and was recently named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s female diver of the year for the second straight season.

So how does a Winnipegger end up on a diving scholarship in Hawaii? Simple. Harrison took the initiative to introduce herself to the university’s diving coach.

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“I went to one of our senior nationals when I was still a junior diver,” said Harrison. “I met with their coach and it just kinda went from there.”

Harrison has since won back-to-back conference diver of the year awards. Still just 19 years old, Harrison is relatively new to the sport. She’s only been diving competitively for the past five years and went from 21st to fourth place at nationals in just a year.

“Her rise onto the senior national team has been pretty much meteoric as far as diving is concerned,” said Dallas Ludwick, coach of Canada’s senior national team.

Diving though wasn’t Harrison’s first love.

“I did volleyball, basketball, track and field, rugby, badminton,” said Harrison. “You name it, I did it.”

But it’s clear diving was the right choice as an Olympic spot has now become a real possibility.

“(The) 2016 (Games) would be ideal but we’ll see,” said Harrison.

There’s currently more than 200 registered divers in Manitoba with 38 of them competing at the elite level. Manitoba Diving’s executive director, Ken Stevens, believes a homegrown Olympian would send its numbers skyrocketing.

“I think it would not only accelerate the growth of this sport but explode the sport’s popularity in terms of visibility,” said Stevens.

For now, the second-year psychology student and future lawyer is training for the senior national championship in Winnipeg this May where a spot in the Commonwealth Games will be on the line.

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