Sobrato’s Katherine Lim a Diving Sensation – Morgan Hill Times
As the dozens of athletes took turns diving in the Blossom Valley League finals at Santa Teresa High on April 27, the skill level ranged from beginner to advanced.
Some divers landed awkwardly in the water, while others sought to work on the basics or improve their technique. A handful, like Katherine Nicole Lim, a sophomore at Sobrato High, stood out for her ability to control her body so that when she hits the water, it barely creates a ripple.
Lim finished third behind Prospect’s Joey Lee and Leland’s Fiora Beratahani, as all three finished in the top five at last year’s Central Coast Section Championships. The trio are also friends as they all compete for the same Santa Clara dive club.
“I think I did really well compared to most of my competitions,” Lim said. “I felt really relaxed and had a lot of fun.”
Including warm-ups, Lim completed more than 100 dives as warm-ups started at noon and the actual competition didn’t end until after 5 p.m. The long encounter will prepare Lim well for the upcoming CCS Championships, which will be held May 6-7 at the Santa Clara International Swim Center.
As a rookie last year, Lim finished in fifth place in the CCS Championships, one spot above her graduate sister, KellyAnn, who now dives at Cal Poly.
“Last year at CCS was a great experience because I got to dive with my sister and my cousin,” she said. “I was able to contact them and we supported each other. I was happy with what I did, but I was also very happy that my sister was able to do good.
At just 15, Lim is aiming to finish in the top five again – three of the four divers who finished ahead of Lim last year have returned this season – and possibly the top three. She also wants to earn All American recognition this season.
“At the CCS this year, I I just want to stay relaxed so I can dive to the best of my ability,” Lim said. “I want to stay calm because it relaxes me and helps me complete my ride.”
During the BVAL finals, Lim said one of her favorite dives was a forward 1 ½ because she was able to get a terrific air in the launch position before getting into a great flying position. During the club season, Lim also does 3m springboard and 10m platform diving.
By comparison, every high school competition is held on a 1-meter springboard. Lim is strongest in the 1 and 3 meter springboards, although she finds the 10 meter platform almost as fun. Lim comes from a family of divers. In addition to KellyAnn, Lim has two older cousins, Adam and Tyler Wesson, graduates of Mitty High, who dive in college.
Tyler is a junior at Cal and Adam a freshman at Harvard. Adam is perhaps the most accomplished diver in CCS history, winning the championship three times, with a fourth opportunity in 2020 due to Covid.
Tyler finished second in CCS to Adam at the 2018 championships. Lim started to dip at age 7 or 8 watching his cousins, then decided to step up a gear three or four years ago.
“It started out as a fun sport and it’s still a lot of fun, but I got to a point where I wanted to get really competitive,” she said.
Lim secured a spot at the Junior Olympic National Championships in 2021, his biggest achievement yet in a burgeoning diving career. She trains six days a week, taking only Saturdays. The Santa Clara dive club is one of the best in the Bay Area, and Lim said practicing with a wide range of age groups has helped her grow and mature.
“I dive with people of all ages,” she said. “I’m younger than a lot of them and I’ve matured quickly because I’ve been competing with older kids.”
During the BVAL finals, Lim joined her mother by the pool after each of her dives. Her mom takes a video and Lim analyzes her dives and sees what she did right and what she could improve on.
She then sits down, covers herself with a towel to keep warm before getting back in line after a few minutes. With a small towel, or shammy, in hand, Lim makes sure she stays warm and dry so she can optimize her dives.
“Using shammys makes it easier when you’re in the tuck or the pike,” she said. “It really helps your overall dive.”
After each dive, Lim looks at the judges, and his expression doesn’t change much, whether it’s one of his high scores or an average. She doesn’t go too high or too low, but has a routine and focuses on the process to be repeated over and over again.
It’s a routine that has led her to be one of the best divers in the CCS.
Sportswriter Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]