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TV20 Meldon Law Scholar Athlete: Kara Hammersmark (Gainesville)

Became first Hurricanes diver to reach the state competition in more than four years
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville High School senior diver Kara Hammersmark isn’t afraid of a challenge or flipping off the diving board.

“It’s fun because everyone’s so like in awe when they see you dive,” said Hurricanes dive team captain Kara Hammersmark.

In fact, attempting to twist and contort her body in a fraction of a second to hit her mark is something the dive team captain grew up doing.

“When I was a little kid I did gymnastics and I competed in tramp and tumble for a year, and my brother was on the swim team, so one of the swim mom’s suggested I start it up the summer before my freshman year.”

The G.H.S senior and her teammates practice at least two hours everyday after school. They work on the six different dives they must perform during competition. While she it admits the pressure to execute each dive is palpable, Hammersmark tries to stay focused and block out any doubt.

“I just have to think positively and hope that my dive goes well, and if it doesn’t it’s just a smack. At worse, you’ll get a couple bruises and that’s it.”

Last year, Hammersmark became the first diver for the Hurricanes to qualify for the state competition in at least four year. It was an honor she didn’t believe happened at first.

“I was pretty excited because I didn’t expect it. it was really unexpected. But it was pretty exciting to be there. It was a little different because I was the only one from my team so I didn’t really know anyone there but it was still pretty cool.”

As for academics, Hammersmark has a 4.8 weighted g.p.a. She’s taken college level courses through the school’s Cambridge Program since she was a freshman.

She’s also in the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. On top of being so devoted to her academics, Hammersmark volunteers at Haile’s Angels fostering homeless dogs and works as a lifeguard at Mickle Pool.

Upon graduation, Hammersmark hopes to attend the University of Florida with a focus on biological research.

But no matter what the Hurricanes dive captain chooses to do, her coach believes she has all the tools needed to be successful.

“If she sets her mind to it she’s gonna do it. It might take her a little bit, but she’s a great kid all around,” said Gainesville High School diving coach Fondren Deloach. “Just having that nice mindset can get you really far.”

Kara Hammersmark is the epitomy of what makes a top-notch scholar athlete.

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