By Colby Lanham // Athletic Communications
Senior Chelsea Uranaka has transformed into one of the leaders of the Clemson diving program over the past three seasons. Since she was seven, diving has long been Uranaka’s passion, and she takes that passion into every meet she participates in.
Head Coach Leslie Hasselbach Adams loves the growth she has seen from Uranaka since her first season at Clemson and sees Uranaka as someone her teammates can rely on.
“I remember when Chelsea came to Clemson on her recruiting visit,” said Adams. “She was very sweet and very quiet. Her freshman year, she was still very quiet at first, but as the year wore on and throughout her first three years, she has started to find her voice.
“She gained a lot of confidence once she got to know everyone and felt comfortable. She has now become a great friend to so many girls on the team and they really trust her.”
Uranaka is thankful for the opportunity she has to do what she loves and at a University that has helped her grow, both in and out of the pool.
“My time at Clemson has been an amazing experience,” said Uranaka. “I’ve been surrounded by a lot of people who have helped me grow into the person that I am today. They’ve helped push me to be better in the pool, in the classroom and in the weightroom. Many people have reached out and have been able to help me along the way.”
With a sister who attended Clemson, Uranaka first fell in love with the welcoming family atmosphere at the school. Having the opportunity to be part of the diving squad was something the Windermere, Fla. native had been aiming for since she first jumped in the pool.
“Diving in college was one of my main goals growing up,” stated Uranaka. “In high school, I wasn’t really sure where I was going to be, and I never really imagined myself at Clemson until I started looking at it when I came here on a trip. Once I was here on the campus, that’s when I started to see the possibility of myself fitting in here.
“It had a lot to do with the atmosphere. Everyone was so welcoming, and that was what I took away from my trip. It’s a great place.”
Uranaka credits her coaches for aiding her growth and development, both in and out of the pool, especially given the aspects that go into a sport like diving, which requires poise and confidence.
“It can be mentally challenging,” said Uranaka. “With the physical aspect, you have to be in shape to keep up with workouts and training. But what most people don’t know is that diving can be mentally challenging. That aspect of the sport teaches you to be able to push through a lot of things and have a tough mind.”
Uranaka has also found ways to express her passion to others that enjoy diving. She does so by coaching the Clemson Diving Club, where she is able to teach from her own experiences and mentor fellow divers, both beginners and veterans, on perfecting their craft.
“It’s fun to work with a kid who has never dove before and teach them what I know,” added Uranaka about her experience instructing the Diving Club. “It helps me incorporate my love and passion for the sport and try to teach them to enjoy it and want to keep coming back. It’s a challenge at times, but it’s worth it and I love coaching. I’m not entirely sure I’ll take that route once I graduate, but I could see myself being a coach one day.”
February 26, 2021