Julia Oppedisano | Spartans All-Access | Michigan State Swim and Dive

(water splashing) – Strength, flexibility,
repetition, grace, precision, athleticism, awareness. We combine all aspects of athletics. We visualize the movement. We take a breath and then we jump. (water splashing) (soft music) I grew up grow up in Cleveland, Ohio. Growing up, I did gymnastics pretty much my whole childhood, through six or seventh grade. And I was injuring myself a lot, so, I was looking for another way to still tumble or
flip, ’cause that’s what I was really passionate about, and I fell into diving and realized that it’s kind of the same
thing, only in the water. And I really did not like
it and I told my parents, this was not for me
’cause I didn’t really get to do anything fun. I was just doing front
jumps and back jumps and that kind of thing. I took a break from diving for a while, figured it wasn’t my thing. My coach was just trying
to basically convince me that diving is an exciting and fun sport and after watching these high schoolers when I was little, I was like, okay, this could be or me. (water splashing) (soft music) I always knew that I wanted to do some kind of sport in college. My athletics has always been
such a big part of my life. My junior year I actually
had shoulder surgery, which is a very, very
big year for recruiting. So I was very worried that
many schools wouldn’t look at me because of my shoulder
injury and the surgery. I was looking at a few schools and MSU fell into place, where my coach was like, “Oh, do you wanna check out MSU?”, and I was like, not really. They’re in Michigan and being from Ohio, I never wanted to go
to school in Michigan. Eric sent me an email or gave me a call. And I was, okay, I’ll go. My recruiting trip was actually the same day as the Michigan
State, Ohio State game. So that was an influencer. And so when I stepped on campus though, I knew this was the place for me. (faint chattering off mic) Away from the pool, we do
dry land three times a week. Normally we’ll come in. We’ll do abs. We have a list of abs that
we have to do each day. And then we have some dry boards that lead into a foam pit. So we’ll get on that. We’ll do hurdles. We’ll do flips. Just preparing ourselves
to get into the water. Sometimes Eric will pull us in belts, just so we can get the motion of new dives or old dives and just
work on the mechanics without hitting the water. – Hi! (soft music) – Diving is a huge mental sport. Once you can get over what’s in your head, and just do it, it gets a lot easier, but definitely visualizing
is something we do a lot. Before I do a dive in to meet, I’ll actually close my eyes for a second, visualize myself doing the dive. And then, I’ll take a breath and go. But at practice when
you’re learning a new thing that’s hard to wrap your brain around doing something new. Like, oh I have to fling
my body off the three-meter and do this many flips. But a lot of it does come from Eric where he tells you that
he knows you can do it. And if you could sit
there and visualize it and see yourself doing it, it’s a lot easier to get
things off the board. Here in the air, it goes by so fast. After every dive, you
can kind of sit there and watch your dive. Go through what Eric is correcting you on and actually see it for yourself after. And it also has a pause, a slow-mo, a rewind button, which is
really nice to go through and step-by-step see your dives. (water splashing) I redshirted my junior year. Everything that I had torn in high school and had surgery on, I had
retorn in my shoulder. I had to have labrum surgery again. So I decided to just take the year off and have both surgeries, just so I could take
another year of eligibility and see where my next two years led me. – Diving that’s really hard to do, is take a full year off and
then just come back from it, ’cause you’re missing
out on a lot of training, but to come back and
work as hard as she did, it takes a strong will
and a strong character. She really has a lot of experience, and she’s one of the first people I go to whenever I have questions, because she’s gone through
most of what we can experience. She’s just really caring too. – Right after I had
the surgery, basically, I was just ready to get back in the water, learn everything again. Last year was just my relearn everything, you know, figure out
exactly how to dive again. But this year I’m working
towards some goals. I would love to place
top 10, top 20 at Big 10s and hopefully make it
to NCAAs on one meter. Michigan State is pretty well known for not only athletics,
but also academics. I graduated in the spring. This summer, I interned
with the Cleveland Indians for the All Star Game, which was an amazing opportunity, not only for myself but also
for the City of Cleveland, which is really cool being from there. I worked in the Community
Relations Department, which is what I knew I wanted to do and what I want to go into in the future. Right now I’m getting my graduate degree in Sports Administration. Having a degree from here really sets me aside from
most other candidates which is really nice. And it also gave me the chance to do what I love which is diving. So combining the two, along with being on such a beautiful campus, I think will really set me up for what I would like to do in the future. (soft music) (energetic music)

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