Athlete of the Week: Walters ’16 smokes competition, sets new personal record

Sophomore captures first place in vault, uneven bars, beam and all-around in Springfield

Sports Editor
Friday, February 14, 2014

Diana Walters ’16 flies high at a Springfield College meet Sunday as Brown vaults its way toward a potential championship repeat.

The Springfield College gymnasium belonged to Diana Walters ’16 Sunday. The talented sophomore topped all competitors in three of the meet’s four events to run away with first place in the all-around competition. Walter’s career-high 39.050 all-around score lifted the Bears to their highest team score of the season, 192.825.

Walters has made her presence known across the Ivy League since earning second place in her first collegiate meet last season. Her impact contributed to Brown’s Ivy League gymnastics championship in 2013. For her stellar acrobatics and team leadership in the win at Springfield, The Herald has named Walters Athlete of the Week.


The Herald: How did you get started in gymnastics?

Walters: I’ve been doing it since I was three. It’s pretty much been the only thing I’ve known.


You are from Texas, so how did you decide to come to Brown?

My coach came to a recruiting clinic in Texas, and that’s how I met her and heard about Brown.


What’s your favorite part about competing?

My favorite part in college is the team aspect of it. It’s a lot of fun when everybody hits their routines, and it gets very loud and exciting.


What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?

I think the biggest difference has been the leadership aspect. We have a really strong (first-year) class that have all stepped up and competed very well. That has helped the team a lot — having them to replace the seniors.


What’s your favorite event and why?

My favorite event is vault, because it’s really fun to run as fast as you can and kind of fly on it.


When you are flipping through the air or performing a routine, what goes through your head?

We actually practice mental cues a lot. For each skill you have certain words that you say in your head, so every time you do the skill you’ll think things like “tight” and “see my hands.”


Do you get nervous when you go for a new move or skill in practice?

Sometimes, certain skills can be scary. But after so many years, you learn to get over it and just do it anyway.


Have you ever had a terrible wipeout or bad gymnastics story?

Yeah, I have plenty of those from my high school years and even last year. Anytime you fall in competition it can be pretty embarrassing, because the whole audience will say, “Ohhh,” then stop and get silent until you get up. You don’t really want all eyes on you at that point.


What are the goals for the season?

My number one goal is to keep that Ivy title that we won last season, and … to keep consistency throughout the whole team. Everyone looks really good in practice. We just have to keep that composure when we go into meets.


At Springfield, you were one event away from sweeping every event, because two of your teammates came in ahead of you. They couldn’t have let you have that last event?

Honestly, I didn’t even know I had won the other events. In college, it’s much more focused on how the team does as a whole.


Can you tell as you’re performing what your score will be?

Yeah, you get a pretty good idea from doing it everyday in practice. You can pretty much tell when you’re going what it’s going to be like.