eschickler@bcnnew.com

Christina Brasco was a champion diver for the Weston girls swimming and diving team. A senior captain, she won the SWC and Class S titles junior and senior years and finished second in both meets freshman and sophomore years.

"I worked hard to get where I am through the years and it paid off," says Brasco. "I love the sport too. When I came into high school, I wanted those things and looking back, it feels good [to accomplish it]."

Weston head swimming coach Tom Grace is impressed with her development and desire. He says, "Christina is as good as she is now because of the work she's done throughout her high school career. She was determined as a freshman and put in the good, efficient practice to become better every day."

Lady Trojans diving coach Jeanine Oburchay says, "Christina has come a long way since freshman year. She's an incredible diver and her commitment to her sport and academics is impressive. She's committed to everything that's important to her and it shows."

It all began for her at age 11 when she tried it at the Weston Field Club. She loved it from the start, which fueled her drive in it.

Diving is different from swimming because of its subjectivity. Swimming is based on concrete times while diving is based on a judge's score in that each arbiter sees things differently, sometimes to the consternation of the competitors. The ability to remain undaunted by the judges helped her immensely.

"You can't really change what goes through a judge's mind and you have to live with it," says Brasco. "I try not to pay attention to the negative stuff in the meet. It helps not to notice it."

Getting nervous happens to the best divers and Brasco isn't an exception to this rule. Her

come these nerves. Listening to music, usually a mix she compiled the day before the meet, is instrumental in soothing her mind.

Although diving is an event in a swim meet and the divers are a part of the team, many squads treat their swimmers and divers like they are separate entities. Brasco does everything possible to bridge this gap and made the divers and swimmers into a united front which supported each other, bolstering the Lady Trojans in their biggest meets.

"One of the big challenges I faced the past two years was bringing the swimmers and divers together," says Brasco. "The divers and swimmers have to have mutual respect for each other. The divers should go to the swim meets and support the swimmers. Weston is good about supporting its divers and it's better than a lot of schools."

Brasco practices what she preaches and gave the swimmers ample support at SWC, Class S and State Open throughout her career. She credits the support from the Lady Trojan swimmers for her success in diving.

"It's good to know you have 30 people supporting you at big meets," says Brasco. "In turn, the divers support the swimmers. Divers from other teams say they wish they had the support [from their swimmers] that Weston has."

Grace is grateful for his swimmers and divers being at one with each other. He says, "On the high school team, Christina helped the team maintain a sense of balance. Sometimes it's difficult for the divers at the other end of the pool connect with the swimmers who are working at the other end. Christina managed to include everyone, and that made strong team unity."

For Brasco, diving is a 12-month sport. She joined Next Generation in South Norwalk freshman year, switching from Whirlwind Diving in New Canaan.

"[Next Generation has helped me] immeasurably," says Brasco. "It's such a great experience. I love the people, I love the coaches. I enjoy going to practice every day and I learn from other divers. It's amazing and awesome."

Oburchay says, "Not only is she successful, but she enjoys doing it, which helps her stay focused and committed."

Leadership is a strength of hers as she served as captain. She relished her role and led the team through her work ethic and by always encouraging her teammates.

"One of the big challenges of being a swimming captain was to make sure that the swimmers and divers were integrated," says Brasco. "I was pumped for States and SWCs. Being a leader of a group that was enthusiastic and hardworking was great and I was proud to be their leader. I would like to say I led by example."

Academically, she takes five AP courses and an honors course. Calculus, physics and chemistry are her favorite subjects.

Next year, Brasco will attend Yale University and hopes to major in chemical engineering. If not, she hopes to pursue something that's related to the math and science fields. One topic she's interested is nuclear power, which struckher while visiting Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

She's definitely going to dive for Yale and knows she'll have to raise her performance to the next level because the competition will be stronger.

"I have to compete like I did through high school and it will be fun," says Brasco. "There are a lot of outstanding competitors in the Ivy League and Division I and I'm looking forward to it."

Her former coaches are confident she'll do well at Yale. "She's going to do great in her four years at Yale," says Oburchay. "Ryan Moemnko is a great diving coach and Christina will do well under him."

Grace says, "I think she'll do really well. She knows that pool very well, and knows what it takes to compete at a school as competitive as Yale. I'm looking forward to seeing her succeed."

Weston will feel a big void in many ways with her graduation.

"I'll miss having Christina at practice because she's a positive influence on her teammates and is fun to have around," says Oburchay.