A Telkwa diver is hoping to make a small splash in Korea this week.
After catching an early-morning flight Aug. 8, Virginia Hoover is headed to Gwangju, South Korea to participate in the International Swimming Federation’s (ISF) 2019 World Masters Championships being held from Aug 5-18.
Hoover will be participating in the one-metre, three-metre, and either five, seven-and-a-half or 10-metre tower dive events.
It’s her third time participating in the championships.
“This is my last chance to [participate] in the 75-79 age group because it only happens every second year, so I’ll be a bit older the next time they have it.”
Discussing her jump into diving, Hoover said she has always loved the sport.
Growing up in wartime England, however, wasn’t the best backdrop to learn.
That didn’t stop her from trying, though.
“I remember at some beach when I was quite young — maybe nine or 10 — trying to invent the sport of diving off a submerged rock on the beach.”
And while she might not have made a splash back in post-WW2 England, fast forward some 50-odd years later, when Hoover decided she wanted to began (re) practicing diving.
But because Bulkley Valley Regional Pool (BVRP) doesn’t have a diving board (let alone a five-metre platform) Hoover said she had to look elsewhere to train.
“I [had] to drive … to Prince George and back just to get any training.”
But train she did, and over the next 16 years Hoover has participated in a number of competitions, both within the ISF and through other venues.
But make no mistake, she doesn’t expect to win.
That’s because Hoover said these events are heavily-dominated by people who have been diving for much longer than she has.
“I’m just a wannabe — the hasbeens can beat the wannabes anytime.”
Despite acknowledging a personal competitive nature, Hoover said the real reason she goes to the events is to participate in a sport that has always fascinated her.
And while placing would be nice — it’s not expected.
In fact, Hoover said she has only ever placed higher than dead last once in all the diving competitions she has attended.
“I’m not even sure why, it happened in Montreal … and there was six of us on the one-metre springboard and I was fourth — I was just amazed.”
In her spare time outside of her income tax preparation business, she is also an avid snowboarder and pole vaulter.
As for the future, Hoover said she is planning to continue participating at future ISF championships in the 80-84 age bracket.
Not quite what you’d expect for someone about to enter the 80+ age bracket, but when asked about her unconventional sport choices, she laughed it off.
“You have to have exercise of some sort [and] I’m not about to go pump iron at the gym.”