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Prep pop quiz with New Trier diver Paige Grant
Some high school students might feel buried underneath the pressures of going to class, studying and looking at colleges, but New Trier's Paige Grant has found a way to rise above it all. In fact, she's about 30 feet up.
Grant, a senior diver who won the state championship in 2008, is looking to defend her title while helping New Trier capture a state crown.
Although New Trier and Grant are highly ranked by the Tribune for 2009, many conference rivals -- including defending state champion Evanston -- also have a place on those lists.
The Tribune talked with Paige about life in the pool, around school and at home.
How did you get into swimming and diving?
I did gymnastics for eight years. Then my younger sister Caroline [also a New Trier diver] started diving because she thought it was fun. She went to diving camp and I decided to try it too because it was really fun.
What are some of your favorite moments in your career?
All practices are so fun. It's intense, but it's so fun because you have all your friends there.
What's the highest you've ever dived from?
Ten-meter platforms. That's the highest you can compete on. Those platforms are 33 feet up, so when you're up at the top, it looks a lot higher than when you're looking up at it from the ground.
That's about three stories tall. Is that scary?
When I first walked onto a 10-meter platform it probably took me 10 minutes before I could jump off. I was so scared that I was shaking. Now when I go up there it doesn't seem as high, but it's still a little scary.
What do you like most about diving?
It's a thrill, but I really like the practices. It's a time commitment and you really get to know your teammates.
What do you like least?
It's really scary at first, but once you do it you feel so accomplished.
There are a lot of successful swimmers and teams from your area and conference. Is there any person or team you consider your top rival?
It would probably be between Kerrin Seymour from Stevenson, Beth Campbell from Fenwick and my younger sister Caroline. She's an amazing diver and it's great to have her at practice with me everyday. She pushes me to do my best.
You're a senior who will be graduating next spring. Any college plans?
One of the schools I'm really looking at is Northwestern. I train there in the offseason with my club coach, who is the diving coach at Northwestern. But I'm looking at a ton of other colleges right now, so I haven't really narrowed it down yet.
What other school activities do you participate in?
I'm still a gymnast, but I don't plan on doing gymnastics in college.
Favorite non-sports activity?
I spend all my free time hanging out with my sister, who is my best friend, or my other friends from school.
"My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. She's my favorite author. I heard the movie has a really different ending, so I don't want to see the movie.
Speaking of movies, what is your favorite?
I just saw "Love Actually." It was really cute.
Favorite TV show?
When I do have time to watch TV, which is not very often, I love "Lost" and "One Tree Hill."
Favorite junk food?
I'm actually a really healthy eater, but I love S'mores. They are the best.
What do you have on your iPod right now?
"The General" by Dispatch is my favorite song, but I have all types of music on there. For example, I like to listen to mellow music before meets to get rid of my nerves. But when I'm with my friends I'll listen to pop or rap.
Any other pre-meet rituals?
I'm really big on visualization. The night before a meet I'll visualize all my dives before I go to bed.
How many text messages do you send a month and who do you text the most?
I have no idea, but I send a lot of text messages. I probably send most of my texts to my two best friends from school. Then there are my teammates on the diving team. So that's where most of my texts go. No texts for my parents though. They don't text.
Do you have an unlimited plan?
I had a limited plan but that just didn't work. I'm unlimited now.