This week senior Alex D'Ambrosio and the Virginia men's divers head to the NCAA Zone Meet, which runs Friday through Sunday at Rutgers University. D'Ambrosio, the school's record holder in the 3-meter event, recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the Zone Meet, how he got started diving, and his future career plans.
Question: How are you preparing for the Zone Meet?
D'Ambrosio: We just had a mock meet to kind of get us in the right mindset, especially going to compete in a big meet like this. We are going to Zone A this year, which is different than other years. Last year we were in Zone B and that had a lot of ACC and SEC kids.
Question: How have you improved since you first arrived on Grounds?
D'Ambrosio: All my dives are better and different. They are harder with a higher DD (degree of difficulty). I am probably best at the inward dives. I like doing those, but they are kind of scary, because you are jumping towards the board. I like to save them for the end because they are my favorite.
Question: How did you get started diving?
D'Ambrosio: Two of my friends did gymnastics then started diving and they would always come to my house. I had a trampoline and we would always play on it. Then in high school the two of them and these two other girls, also former gymnasts turned divers, and they were just trying to convince me. So I tried it.
Question: What made you want to come to UVa and dive here?
D'Ambrosio: Dave (Fafara) was the coach and so he recruited me. It was easily the best school I got into. I was pretty much obvious, somehow, to all the championships. I wasn't looking here until pretty late in my college application process when Dave starting talking to me.
Question: What has been your favorite moment?
D'Ambrosio: Probably the Pittsburgh meet this year because it was senior day so my family came down to watch. My parents, my aunt and uncle and a bunch of friends came down from Massachusetts because it was the last chance for them to get to see me dive here. I won both events so it was a pretty awesome day.
Question: What are the best and worst parts about being a diver?
D'Ambrosio: The best part for me is that it's not swimming. It's not as physically taxing. It is definitely mentally tough and we just need to exert ourselves, all of our muscles at that one instant. So that makes it pretty difficult. And I think just saying mentally tough. It's fun and we have a good time every practice.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
D'Ambrosio: I like to be outside. I was playing some tennis earlier with Dan Johnson, who is now retired. I like all those things - soccer, Wiffle Ball, stuff like that. I play guitar with Darren (Ankosko) and Zach Kohl, who plays drums. I go long boarding and I also ride my unicycle. I like to be active.
Question: What is your major? What do you want to do after graduation?
D'Ambrosio: I am an environmental sciences major and I don't really know what I'm doing - still working on finding a job. But my ideal job would be a weatherman, a broadcast meteorologist. I have done some stuff with that. I am the president of the Cavalier Weather Service here at school. We do the forecasts for the Cavalier Daily. I've also done some internships at news stations the past few summers. So now I am going to start applying to news stations for next year, but we'll see how it does. There are a bunch of environmental consulting firms I'm also looking at.
Question: What are you going to remember most about being part of the diving program at UVa?
D'Ambrosio: All of my teammates. They are who I hang out with and I like being with all of them. My class - there are eight of us. We have been a pretty tight group.