Durgin to dive at Georgetown


Photo provided by Lizzy Durgin

Durgin in the middle of a dive.

Keertana Gangireddy, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When Senior Lizzy Durgin attended her first dive practice, she was directed to the highest platform: 3 meters above the water. Although Durgin initially had a fear of heights, overcoming her trepidation was one of her many accomplishments as a competitive diver.

Durgin’s diligence and talent has culminated in her commitment to dive for Georgetown University as part of the class of 2026.

Before ninth grade, Durgin was a dedicated gymnast. She put in thirty hours per week of training at the gym and intended to compete in her college years. However, the sport caused frequent and serious injuries for her.

“I was in the gym all the time, and I just got really injured. I had around four surgeries and it was getting to be too much on my body. So in freshman year, I decided to quit after I broke my foot for the fifth time. I just needed a new sport,” Durgin said.

Durgin joined the WA Swim and Dive Team in her freshman year. Durgin partially attributes her familiarity with gymnastics to her success in the pool. 

Her skill on the board is incredibly impressive, especially for a diver with only around three years of experience. She is a Massachusetts MIAA Division 1 State Champion, and is nationally recognized with a NISCA All-American Dive Award.

Although she is now an accomplished diver, Durgin initially struggled with separating the successes of her teammates with her own. As Durgin started diving in high school, her teammates were at first on a higher skill level. Thus, she pushed herself to a competitive level on par with her peers.

“I did gymnastics for so long and I was always really good at it, and it was my thing. When I started diving I had to learn to be at the back of a team and work my way up. Seeing all my teammates do really well motivated me to try to be as good as them, and after a couple years, they really pushed me to be where I am now,” she said.

Durgin’s motivation and work ethic allow her to manage her academics and sports. Her schedule involves getting her work done the moment she gets back from school before she goes to practice. Durgin mentions that her diligence has always been one of her stronger qualities.

“I’m always really hard on myself. I’ve always tried hard in high school, so my number one priority was taking the hardest classes and trying my best. Sports is something that I can go to, to give myself a break,” Durgin said.

Durgin’s former gymnastics teammate, Senior Ellie Cioffi, attests to Durgin’s dedication, as well as her character as a teammate and friend.

“I would describe Lizzy as one of the hardest working people I know. Once she sets her mind to it, she does it. She also always finds time for everyone and everything. […] What stands out the most is that she has just always been there. In and out of school and the gym, she has always been someone I can depend on. Lizzy is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met, and I admire her for it,” Cioffi said.

Diving is a sport that tests one’s mental abilities as much as one’s physical ability. Durgin recounts a specific experience at an event where she had to execute a one-meter dive on a Thursday, and a three-meter dive later on a Saturday. After the one-meter dive fell short of Durgin’s hopes, she found it difficult to bring herself into the headspace to compete in the three-meter dive.

Durgin describes one of the hardest parts of diving as bringing up one’s spirits and being able to compete, regardless of the outcomes of previous dives.

She overcomes these challenges by attempting to make herself comfortable on the diving board.

“When I’m on the board, I’ll sing a song in my head so it kind of feels like practice. [In practice] I’m less nervous. I know what I’m doing. A lot of the time when I get on the board in a meet, I get nervous and I can almost feel myself shaking. When I talk to myself like I’m in practice, it allows me to do better,” Durgin said.

Durgin’s WA Swim coach Caitlin Klick-McHugh remarks that Durgin has developed tremendously as an athlete and person throughout her high school career.

“Lizzy has shown tremendous growth as a diver and leader over the past 4 years. […] Now she is a great leader for all of the other divers on the team. […] She is a tireless worker, competing for both Boston Area Diving and Westford Academy.  She will often even do both practices in the same day,” Klick-McHugh said.

Durgin’s talent and perseverance paid off in the college recruitment process. In her junior year, she scheduled meetings and was in contact with coaches of collegiate teams, and ultimately narrowed down her options based on her preferences.

She chose Georgetown because of its large swim and dive team, as well as its athletic environment where all the sports teams socialize and associate with each other. She hopes to get into the Georgetown College of Health Sciences to pursue her dream of becoming a physician’s assistant.

She is most looking forward to being able to study on the pre-med track in an academically renowned school, as well as develop friendships with her future teammates.

Klick-McHugh is especially excited for Durgin’s pursuits as well.

“I am so excited for Lizzy’s commitment to Georgetown. She will be a great addition to their program, and it will be a great fit for her. […] I know Lizzy will have continued success as she transitions from WA to Georgetown because of her ability to connect with her teammates and coaches,” Klick-McHugh said.

As for this year, Durgin is eager to have a regular sports season with the team bonding such as the bus rides to meets as well as team sleepovers.

For other student-athletes hoping to continue with their sport in college, Durgin advises to stay dedicated and persistent. 

“Keep pushing yourself, and always want to try harder and be the best. […] Let coaches know that you are really interested in their school. And if you be yourself and show them your personality, it’s easier for them to pick you because they’ll choose you not only for your skills, but also for your character,” Durgin said.