At the end of her junior year at Chapman, Kellyn Toole felt burnt out. After 15 years of gymnastics and a collegiate diving career, Toole was ready to be done with athletics. Going into her senior year, with her parents urging her to continue, Toole felt pressure to finish out the season.
“It does keep me on a schedule, but the main reason I came back was that it was senior year and my parents love it,” Toole said.
Toole has been an athlete since she was three years old. She began with gymnastics and continued the sport until her senior year of high school. A friend also convinced her to join the swim and dive team her freshman year of high school. Toole said it was a challenge to adjust from gymnastics to diving.
“I don’t want to say it was easy, because it wasn’t,” Toole said. “But I already had body awareness, which is a huge thing in diving.”
Toole began to dive and still did gymnastics year-round, since the seasons did not overlap. Injury, however, presented an issue, she said.
“I stopped gymnastics because I kept breaking myself. I broke my foot twice in four months. After my senior year, I realized I need to stop,” Toole said.
As Toole closed out her high school sports career, she said she had no expectations of diving in college until she visited Chapman. Since diving was still a new sport to her, she still had the motivation to continue.
But diving is a year-round sport. Toole said the rigor of a year-round sport on top of academics and internships made it difficult to manage her time. In past years, it didn’t pose a problem for Toole. But now, she said, there is more on her plate.
“I have a lot of stuff I need to do and need to figure out, like, post-grad. It’s been hard for me a little bit to fit in diving,” Toole said.
Toole interns for an advertising agency based in Denver, Colorado, and works at Chapman as a tour guide at the Office of Admissions.
“Diving after this, I’m not doing anything with it, whereas with school I want to finish up well and do well with internships so I can set myself up for a good job,” Toole said. “For diving, if I miss a practice, it is OK. It’s hard to find motivation.”
Despite the difficulties the sports presents for Toole, she said it felt like the right decision to finish out her last year at Chapman on the dive team.
“The main reason I came back was that I had been doing so for so long, I might as well finish out,” Toole said.
With her motivation dwindling and graduation nearing, Toole feels like it’s the right time for her to wrap up her athletic career at Chapman.
“I’m going to be ready. I’m not ready for graduation, but I’m ready for dive to end. I’m ready for Southern California Interscholastic Athletic Conference (SCIAC) and regionals again,” Toole said. “Obviously, I’ll be sad, but it’s my time.”