PHOENIX, Arizona, January 24. DIVER Kristian Ipsen joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show a few weeks before traveling to London to test out the diving boards at the London Aquatic Center.
Ipsen, now a freshman at Stanford University, talks about why he decided to not sit out this year to train for an Olympic berth, new dives he's working on and how he and synchro partner Troy Dumais work together despite living in separate states. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Peter: This is the Morning Swim Show for Tuesday, January 24th, 2012. I'm your host Peter. In the FINIS Monitor today we will talk to Kristian Ipsen. He is one of the best springboard divers in America — if not the world. Kristian joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Palo Alto, California. Christian, welcome back to the Morning Swim Show. How are you?
Peter: You're a freshman at Stanford. How's college life treating you?
Kristian: I love it. It is awesome. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I was nervous coming into it to see how, like, it was going to be actually balancing school and diving, but it has been awesome so far.
Peter: Since it is an Olympic year, did you think about taking the year off just to train and focus on diving?
Kristian: Yeah, I did. A lot of the people on the national team have taken the year off in school but I feel like for me it is beneficial to have something else to do besides dive because diving for me — you can be like all consuming and that is the only thing that I think about so it is kind of nice actually to have some school work to kind of balance it out so I don't just like only focus on diving.
Peter: What are you studying?
Kristian: I don't know yet. Right now I am just taking a lot of prerequisites for freshmen and that this year I'm taking or this quarter I'm taking a pretty light load because of London, because I am going to be missing almost three weeks of school.
Peter: Well speaking of London, you are going to be heading there in a couple of weeks for just, you know, a regular meet I don't know what they call it exactly but it is obviously not the Olympics but you are heading there and the event is actually at the Olympic venue right?
Kristian: Yeah it is. It is the world cup and it is the last time that — it is our last chance to qualify our country for Olympic spots so…
Peter: Okay, are you already qualified?
Kristian: No, it is actually — for diving you qualify the country by the certain place that you get, but then in June we are going to have our trials where we actually figure out the actual individuals that get to go.
Peter: Got it. Now before we get to that I do want to ask about the venue, have you ever dove at this specific venue?
Kristian: I haven't. I have seen pictures and it looks awesome. I'm really, really excited.
Peter: Is it tough to dive in a place you are not familiar with?
Kristian: At the beginning it is. It is a little bit different because you have to kind of pick up different spotting cues because you use your eyesight a lot when you are diving and for me just coming from an outdoor pool going to an indoor pool, it is sometimes a little bit different but I feel like after a couple of days you get it and then it seems like second nature but that is why we go for diving meets, we always get there early so that we can kind get accustomed to the pool and like how the boards feel and different things like that.
Peter: Well what have you heard about the venue?
Kristian: What have I heard about it?
Kristian: I haven't heard much. I have just hear that it is just. I have just seen pictures and it was really, really nice. I'm so excited. I think it is going to be nice dive in the actual Olympic pool, so hopefully if I make the team I would have already dove there and I kind of I have already had a meet under my belt where I have actually like so that I just feel more comfortable in the meet.
Peter: Yeah I would think that could be advantageous.
Kristian: Yeah, I am excited.
Peter: Alright so, alright let's talk about qualifying for the Olympics. You do synchro with Troy Dumais.
Peter: You guys are American top synchro spring board team and then individually the way you have been diving lately I'm sure you are hoping to make the team individually as well?
Kristian: Sorry, could you repeat that, it was kind of loud in here.
Peter: That's okay, I said other than the Synchro with Troy I mean individually the way you have been diving I'm sure you hope to qualify for the individual 3-meter as well?
Kristian: Yeah, I hope so. That is the goal right now. I mean hopefully we can make it for Synchro because at least the last couple of years Synchro has been going really well and we have made every world team so far, so hopefully we can keep going that pattern and we can make the Olympic team and I feel like there are a lot of really good divers on 3-meter for individual right now and I feel like especially at the nationals it was really, really tight the entire time and everyone was putting up really good scores, so I feel like the Trials are going to be really interesting to see who actually makes the team individually but hopefully I keep training hard then I can make it.
Peter: What is something that you are better at today than you were a year or two ago when you really started becoming that household name in diving?
Kristian: I feel like over this last year actually diving here at Stanford, I feel like my starts have gotten a lot better I feel like I am a lot more powerful off the board and I am getting a lot higher, so before I feel like my maximum score that I could have gotten was like 8, 8-1/2 but now that I am a lot more powerful I feel like my score is like could into the 9, 9-1/2 range so I feel like that has been one of the things, and my coach right now Rick Schavone is really good with starts like he just I feel like improved from them seeing that.
Peter: Alright explain that a little bit more technically if you could. I mean what other than getting higher and having more time to you know to do stuff in the air. I mean what is it that is making you better at the start is it weight training for your legs, what is it?
Kristian: Yeah, I think it is a combination. I think— we have done a lot of weight training and I have done cross training in different— we have done a lot of flips like to try to get— be quicker like to be spinning faster in the air and I feel like he just is really good with technique and like getting off the board. I mean also Cassidy Krug is a tremendous diver and I feel like she has some of the best starts for like a woman in the entire world. So that is why I was really excited to come here and train with him because he just is really, really good with technique and getting me spin fast so I'm really happy. It is like I made some good changes here.
Peter: Have you worked on any new dives or is there one that is kind of going to be the ace up your sleeve for trials?
Kristian: Yeah, actually well at least for the college meets I have changed my 1-meter list around completely. I had 4 new dives at this last at the meet last weekend and I feel like doing a lot of harder 1-meter dives is just helping me for 3-meter but for actual 3-meter dives the dives that I am thinking about doing at the trials actually have two that I am thinking about doing at the trials. I'm planning on doing triple out which is a front 2-1/2 with 3 twists and I was doing it in the summer but then my back was kind of bothering me so I have taken some time of from doing that. And I am also planning on doing a reverse 2-1/2 with 2-1/2 twist so some 2 big twisters.
Peter: Two big twisters.
Peter: You know diving in college, most of the other great divers around the world you know aren't diving in college right now so they don't have to worry about the one-meter or the platform. First, will you even do the platform or just the springboards?
Kristian: I'm planning on doing platform for some of the bigger college meets but right now for some of the invitationals and dual meets I haven't done them just because especially for this meet coming up I'm just focusing on world cup 3-meter, but I would love dive a platform at NCAAs.
Peter: I was going to say does that mess you up at all you know instead of just primarily focusing on the 3-meter or is it actually a good distraction like swimming in different events?
Kristian: I think it is a good distraction. I feel from the one-meter and the platform you can take different parts of those actual boards and kind of implement them into 3 meter and like just take at different parts for just a platform it helps me when I— it helps me focus on my entries more, like going in the water cleaner and then for 1-meter it helps me try to like push the board down because some of the 1-meter dives that I am doing are pretty difficult so I feel like you can take different parts of like platform diving and 1-meter diving and then implement them into 3-meter.
Peter: Best chance for a medal for you this summer. Synchro or individual?
Kristian: Synchro or individual?
Peter: Yeah, for best chance of medal.
Kristian: I think probably Synchro but hopefully both.
Peter: Hopefully both, is a good answer.
Kristian: Yeah, I am hopeful, but I think just because of how we have done in Synchro in the past couple of years I think we do have a pretty good chance to get a medal.
Peter: How often do you talk with Troy?
Kristian: I talk to Troy a lot and actually I am going, not this coming weekend but the weekend after that we are going to train for a little bit and then I think he is coming back here for that next week to train some more so that we get our timing back before we go to the meet.
Peter: That has to be a very unique and difficult situation you know having to be so synchronized literally with somebody when you compete, but never really getting to train with them.
Kristian: Yeah. We are actually lucky that when we got together for the first time in 2009 things kind of just clicked and it was— it just felt kind of like second nature diving with him. I feel like a lot of the things we do – our hurdles were pretty much the same and the way we dive was really similar so once we got our timing down on the board, we didn't really have to change much in the air so when we get back together, it takes us like one practice and are pretty much back in timing so really for fortunate for that.
Peter: But now that your starts are better and you are jumping higher off the spring board you know, can he keep up?
Kristian: Oh definitely. Troy can always keep up. I don't have to worry about that.
Peter: Well good luck in London, both in a couple of weeks and especially this summer. It is going to be a lot of fun to watch you.
Kristian: Thanks, I appreciate it. Good talking to you.
Peter: Alright you too that Kristian Ipsen joining us from Stanford today and that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Bush reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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