Q & A with Michigan State Diver Danielle Williams

March 18, 2005

With her freshman campaign in East Lansing winding down, Spartan freshman Danielle Williams took some time to tell us about how she became a diver, why she chose Michigan State and what goes through her mind when she is about to dive.

Looking back at your college career so far, what are your overall thoughts about where you are at?

I think that since I have been at MSU my diving has improved a lot but, I still have a long way to go.

What do you do to stay calm and focused at critical times?

My teammates help me calm down and get focused when I am having a little bit of a hard time. They seem to lighten up the mood and encourage me to do my best.

Why did you choose to go to attend Michigan State?

I liked the people on the team that I had met before I came and also I met Eric Best (Diving Coach) and a few of the divers when they came to a meet in Toronto and they were extremely supportive.

What situation puts you under the most pressure?

I find that when I take exams I am under the most pressure, but then I come in and dive and it's my stress relief for the day. I forget about everything else when I dive.

Has your collegiate career gone the way you thought it would or has it gone beyond what you expected?

Coming from Canada I had no idea what to expect in collegiate diving but so far I think I am doing very well.

What are some of the things that you wanted to accomplish before your college career is over?

To be a Big Ten finalist, to be top 16 at the NCAA and to try and qualify for the Canadian Olympic trials

What are some of the philosophies your coaches try to get through to the team or you as an individual?

To try your hardest and have fun

Personally, what has been your greatest accomplishment as a student-athlete and why?

So far academically I have done very well because of my teammates support and also having access to the student-athlete academic center throughout the year and I am very proud of that.

As a kid what athlete or role model did you look up to and why?

My dad was my biggest supporter in academics and athletics and was an amazing role model.

How did you first get involved with your sport and why?

I was a gymnast for 10 years and then I broke my neck. Shortly after, I decided to try diving instead of going back to the gym.

What is your favorite moment during a competition and why?

Hearing my scores after I know I have done a good dive.

What are some of the difficulties in competing in your sport at a high level that the average fan may not be aware of?

We are a lot less fearless than we appear to be. One of the main challenges in diving is conquering your fear.

How much do you rely on your teammates both during competition and in your life?

I rely on my teammates a lot during competition and in life because we get to know each other so well, they become like family and support you through everything.

What are some of your other favorite sports?

Gymnastics and I enjoy watching hockey

What are some of your weaknesses as an athlete in your sport?

I am kind of tall for a diver so sometimes it makes spinning a little more difficult.

What are some of your strengths?

My coach says that I have a good body line in the air and I feel that I have a good awareness of where I am in the air.

What are your plans after graduation?

Right now I hope to travel to Australia and after that I am not sure