Valley diver Anahit Cholakyan qualifies for the state championship

Updated: May 8

Beating Riverside City College’s Lorelai Carney for first place, Cholakyan will head to East Los Angeles College for the diving state championship.

By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor

Anahit Cholakyan attempts a dive at the Valley College Swim and Aquatics Center on Sept. 22, 2021. Cholakyan has advanced to compete at the state championships on Thursday and Friday, May 5 and 6. (Christopher Perez / The Valley Star)

Edging out Riverside City College’s diver by 0.65 points, Anahit Cholakyan came through as Valley College’s sole survivor for the state championships.

Finishing first on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards for the conference championship from April 21-23, Cholakyan demonstrated her skills above the swimming pool, and was rewarded with a trip to the state championship.

"I honestly went into it thinking I was going to place second,” said the first-year accounting major. “So I was pretty shocked and excited. I felt accomplished and I hadn't felt that way in a long time."

Cholakyan finished first on the 1-meter board and second on the 3-meter board for the Southern California competition, but earned first on both for the conference championship. She could not overtake Riverside diver Lorelai Carney in the Southern California contest until the last dive, coming through at the last second with a one-and-a-half somersault with a half twister to beat out Carney’s back one-and-a-half and claim the victory.

“Anahit’s twisters are definitely her specialty, but she’s good at all of them,” said coach Nicole Hall.

An accounting major with many years of experience in both diving and gymnastics, Cholakyan brings her multitude of skills to the board when diving, which helped her come away with a victory and state championship qualification.

“I did diving for four years before college for a club team and I did gymnastics for 11 years before that,” said Cholakyan. “The only difference was you don’t land on your feet. You land on your hands.”

Mainly coming to Valley to pursue her degree in accounting, Cholakyan decided to join the diving team to reinvigorate her love for the sport and bring her the joy she had when she had practiced before.

“I joined diving because I missed the sport and thought it would be fun,” said Cholakyan. “I think it's a great accomplishment and a fun experience."

From both the one-meter boards and the three-meter boards, competitors must do six dives from five categories, doubling up on one of the categories of their choosing. Within each category, variation in style is allowed. The categories are forward, backwards, inward, reverse and twister and then they get to double up in one category, so that makes a total of six.

Cholakyan doubled up on the twister, sticking to her strength, which ultimately paid off when she overlapped Carney.

“Basically, my dives weren’t as hard as hers,” said Cholakyan. “She was doing harder dives, but her form wasn’t as good.”

Preparing for the state championship Thursday and Friday at East Los Angeles College, Cholakyan will couple the skills she gained from her lifelong practice of diving and gymnastics with the strategies that paid off for her this time around.

"I will just stay calm and take it one dive at a time," said Cholakyan

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