One-on-One: Chris Plante '12

by Kelly Hanen | 11/20/11 11:00pm

Men's diving team captain Chris Plante '12 placed fourth in the three-meter event and fifth in the one-meter event in Dartmouth's meet against Brown University this weekend, which the Big Green handily won. The diving team will be back in action after winter break, beginning with a showdown against Yale University on Jan. 14. I sat down with Plante to talk about pre-dive rituals, the scary aspect of diving and the team's affinity for guacamole.

The swimming and diving team has compiled a 2-1 record in its first three Ivy League competitions. How do you feel about the team's start?

CP: It feels great to have the team start out so strong. It makes all the hard work feel worth it.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

CP: I'd like to contribute to a couple more Ivy League dual-meet wins for the team. Personally, I would like to make finals at Ivy League Championships in March.

Diving seems to be an incredibly mentally challenging sport. What goes through your mind when you're on the board?

CP: Sometimes my mind is full of thoughts like, "Oh f*ck just don't smash your face on the board" or "I'm hungry." Other times it's completely blank. During the Brown meet, I was thinking about Rihanna mostly.

How do you practice a dive that you've never done before?

CP: If you're learning a new dive on three-meter, you do the same dive on one-meter with less flips or twists to get comfortable. It's called a lead-up. You might do the lead-up 100 times before you ever do the real dive.

Have you ever belly flopped during a meet?

CP: Absolutely. Once during a meet, I hit my arm on the 10-meter platform and fell all the way down flat on my back like a dead bug. That sucked.

What is the most difficult aspect of diving?

CP: Getting over your fears is the hardest part. No matter how long you've been diving, you still have to learn new things every day and they aren't always comfortable. There is always the fear that your body won't know what to do and you'll hurt yourself.

The team goes on a training trip at the beginning of winter break. What does that entail? Are you excited?

CP: We will be in Hawaii for two weeks eating a lot of guacamole. That's how we train best. But seriously, I'm really excited because we get to dive outside and it's a great atmosphere to work hard without having to worry about school.

Do you have any strange pre-meet rituals?

CP: I cut my fingernails the night before meets because the first time I qualified for U.S. Diving Nationals when I was 12 years old I had done it. Obviously that was the difference. Nowadays, I have a phobia of stepping on the board with my right foot, so I always start with my left. No idea where that one came from.

The diving team is a pretty tight-knit group. Do you have any team traditions?

CP: Every year we go to Mexico as a team-building exercise.

I have heard that you have a variety of odd nicknames, including "CBON," "planet" and "old head." Can you explain these?

CP: CBON is an acronym, planet is my last name for the dyslexic and old head is a loving pet name from our lift coach, Darren [Mustin].

Since it is almost Thanksgiving, I'd like to ask you what you are thankful for.

CP: Kim Kardashian.