Student receives awards after season, succeeds despite obstacles

One of the most prolific diving careers in University of Miami history ended on a high note this past year.

Senior Brittany Viola left with the NCAA Diving National Championship in the 10-meter platform after the Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Texas. The award is the second in her career; she also received her first award for the 10-meter platform in 2008. She shared some of her experiences with The Miami Hurricane.

The Miami Hurricane: What you were feeling when you came away with that second national championship?

Brittany Viola: My initial thought was ‘I can’t believe it.’ I was so relieved that when I finished the competition I didn’t know where I had sat. I knew I had been pretty consistent because I never look at the scores when I dive. So I got in the shower — there’s one right as you get out of the water — and I heard my name announced that I had won. It was such a relieving feeling that everything I could have hoped my college career would end like, happened.

TMH: What was your mindset heading into your last tournament as a UM diver?

BV: Man, that was a very hard reality to take because I have just enjoyed myself so much at UM and that was the last collegiate meet I would ever do wearing the U on my suit. You could say that it put that much more pressure on me, but something that I’ve been trying to remind myself this year is just to enjoy every moment and remind myself basically to not criticize my expectations and just perform, so that’s what I try to do.

TMH: From being ACC Freshman of the Year back in 2006 to having just received your second national championship, you’ve come a long way. But two foot surgeries made it difficult at times. How did you battle back?

BV: The two surgeries were out of nowhere. I came back from world championships in 2009 and was walking and my bones just collapsed on each other. When I went in for surgery, they ended up stitching tendons they didn’t know were torn and the recovery ended up longer than it should have been. Then I found out I came back too fast and ended up going back in for surgery eight months after the first one. I wasn’t even sure if I was supposed to continue diving. I wasn’t sure if maybe I just needed to move on with my life. But I felt like I needed to continue pursuing and I’m just so happy I pushed through and persevered through it all.