by Eric Oslund
What a difference a year makes.
A season ago, Elk River diver Sheridan Christianson was one of the team’s top performers, but had her inconsistencies and was not finishing near the top of the scoreboard on a consistent basis. Now, in her senior year, Christianson is placing in first almost every other meet – often trading places with her teammate Olivia Hanson.
Her trick? She added a hop to her jump.
“I actually do a hop hurdle,” she explained, “so instead of doing four steps and kind of just bringing your knee up, I actually add this little hop in my hurdle, and, to me, that just helps me get height and it helps me get my arms back around by my ears where I need them to be so I can get that height.”
And it seems as though the more she practices and the more she dives, the more Christianson seems to be figuring out how to be one of the best divers in her conference. No further example is needed of that than when the Elks made their way to a 6-team invitational at Cambridge-Isanti on Saturday, Oct. 7.
She would end up taking first with a score of 398.65, topping her old personal best by 96.3 points, and coming up 13 points shy of setting a new pool record.
Setting a pool record was never something she imagined being able to do, especially since Elk River’s is a mark held by Larua Ryan, a diver who went on to compete as a Division I athlete, and in international competitions.
“It was really exciting,” Christianson said with a laugh. “It’s really exhilarating to know that I was that close to beating it because I have never been that close to beating a pool record… but it’s really exciting to know that I am capable of getting that close to something and would be actually able to achieve that.”
That new personal best also propelled her up Elk River’s all-time diving scores list for both 11 and six dives. Before the meet in Cambridge, Christianson was sitting at 23 on the all-time list for 11 dives, but that score of 398.65 moved her up to No. 6, and she also moved to No. 5 all time on the six-dive list with a score of 247.45.
Before her senior year, she never even thought about that all-time diving records list, and didn’t really even know it was a thing. But now, she is excited to be counted as one of the top-10 best divers in the school’s history.
“It’s absolutely bizarre. I was shocked,” she said of moving so far up the list with her weekend performance. “It’s really exciting and it makes me really happy to know that.”
With her senior season quickly coming to an end, Christianson cannot believe how quickly everything has gone by. In a blink of an eye, she’s gone from being sixth grader watching her sister perform her diving routine for the first time from the bleachers and knowing that was what she wanted to do, to walking out on the diving board in her final season and being honored on senior night.
She has accomplished a lot through her years as an Elk River diver, but now there is just one more thing she is looking to check off her list.
“Probably just making it to state,” Christianson explained. “I have never actually been to state before. The closest I have been is making it to finals in sections and making it to those last three rounds.”