U.S. Diving Champion Zarka Doesn’t Like To Do Laundry
Even with one national diving title already hers, Kenyon College’s Maria Zarka trained this past year as if she still had a lot to prove.
The effort paid off when she captured another national title recently in the 3-meter competition as well as placing second in the 1m at the NCAA Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis.
“I was very happy to find out that last year wasn’t a fluke,” said Zarka, a Kaneohe native and former Kalaheo High standout.
“This entire season has been exciting and fun. I still would have come away with a positive feeling overall if I hadn’t won.”
Zarka’s showing helped the Kenyon women’s team tally 456 points, good for second place for her Ohio school behind five-time champion Emory University.
She also was honored as NCAA Division III Women’s Diver of the Year.
Zarka took some time away from the pool and the classroom this week to visit with MidWeek‘s Windward Islander.
Who has had the biggest impact on your life? My parents (Chris and Kamiala) have been so supportive, and they’re the reason I’ve had success. They forced me to go to practice even when I didn’t want to. My dad pushed me when I couldn’t push myself and set me up for the future.
What did you work on the most in the off-season? I spent a lot of time on diving basics in the beginning, then I did what are known as ‘lift practices’ – when you practice what you’d do at a meet. There are 11 dives, and you do each dive once. It’s a oneand-done, make-it-or-break-it practice.
What movie could you watch over and over? The Lego Movie. My boyfriend brought me, and I was laughing the whole time.
What item couldn’t you live without? My iPod. Our campus is like a mile-long, and everything takes time to get to. The walk is more fun with music.
Who are three of your favorite musical artists? Shakira, Rihanna, and Mumford and Sons.
What is your least favorite household chore? Laundry and folding clothes.
What website do you go to the most? Reddit.
What road trip do you most look forward to during the season? We drove to Florida for training and Indianapolis for nationals, but I hate long car rides. I like shorter distances, so I’ll say our trips to Dennison, which is our rival. It’s only 45 minutes.
When you have free time, how do you spend it? What are your hobbies? During the off-season I have a workout partner, Megan (Remillard), and we do the Insanity Challenge Video 90 days in a row. I guess that’s my hobby.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I’d like to follow in my mom’s footsteps. She’s a pilot for Hawaiian Air.
You’re stuck on Kahoolawe and can have an endless supply of just one food. What would it be? Cheese.