Dual threat in the pool: Austin’s Thompson stays active in swimming and diving

Published 8:12 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

From the day Austin junior Hanna Thompson started swimming, she was hooked. So when she started diving competitively as a seventh grader, it was only natural for her to continue swimming.

Thompson has stayed active on the diving board and in the pool this season for the Packers and her dedication has helped Austin put up a few more points on meet nights.

It’s great that I can count on her. She’s been an all-round utility player for us,” Austin head coach Alexa Dolan Peterson said. “Our team is small and we’ve told all of our divers that if they can swim, we expect them to swim. Hanna’s been doing that since she’s been on the team. She’s a varsity caliber swimmer and diver, so it’s nice that I can put her in pretty much any event that I need her in.”

Hanna Thompson makes her first dive this season at Bud Higgins Pool. Herald File Photo

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Thompson has been a varsity diver since she was an eighth grader, and while most divers drop swimming so they can focus on their main event, she has never felt the need to give up swimming. On the contrary, Thompson said that swimming after her dives on meet nights help keeps her mood balanced.

Keeping up with diving is kind of hard to deal with and it’s tough to maintain times in swimming,” Thompson said. “In diving, I think what makes me want to do it more is that I’m learning and progressing. I love making everything nice and good. I’ve always loved swimming, so that’s just there for me all the time. It’s a good way to get stress out.”

Thompson has taken a major step with the Packers this season as she’s graduated from understudy to leader in all of her events. Austin’s divers are low on experience and they’ve leaned heavily on Thompson for advice this season.

A few of them have also taken on swimming as well as diving.

Austin’s Hanna Thompson swims the freestyle in practice for the Packers. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

I really like to help [the younger girls] with diving,” Thompson said. “Cheering them on during the meets is fun because I used to them. I used to be in JV swimming and diving and it’s another thing for me to look back on.”

Thompson has a gymnastics background and she began diving on her own while swimming during the summer. Before long, she was a JV diver for the Packers as a seventh grader and she was diving with the varsity team by the time she was an eighth grader.

Thompson was a freshman when Austin grad Maddie Mullenbach went to the Minnesota Class A State diving meet and she learned a lot in that season. Mullenbach, who is now a gymnast at UW-Stout, helped instill confidence in Thompson at a young age.

I learned that you just need to go for things,” Thompson said. “It’s hard for me to do a lot of things and [Maddie] taught me to look ahead and always have that one goal. She taught me how to be more courageous when I’m diving. I’d like to make it in state in swimming or diving this season and I might have a shot in diving if I really work hard.”

Dolan Peterson said that Thompson is probably a top-three freestyle swimmer for the Packers this season and she’s also seen Thompson take big steps in diving.

In year’s past she’s shied away from the reverse dive and this year she tackled it much earlier in the season than she has in the past,” Dolan Peterson said. “I think she’s seeing that the end of the season is coming quickly and she’s trying some new things and she’s adding some tougher dives.”

The Packers will host Rochester Mayo at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Section 1A swimming and diving meet is set for Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.