This past summer, Everett High School senior Hailey Faith attended the Ripfest Diving Camp in Arcadia, Indiana. There she learned a variety of new skills that she’s used this fall to become an even better diver than she already was.
Faith competed at the Class 3A state championship meet as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and will do so again this weekend in Federal Way.
“She’s now at the level where she is confident enough in her skill to get technical and focus on technique,” Seagulls diving coach JoLynne Leitzel-Abbe said. “The progression from her freshman to senior year has been impressive. She’s doing new dives that I never thought she’d do. She’s a quiet leader, and competitive — she always has a flame burning. She’s so focused that sometimes it’s like working with a college kid.”
Here are five things to know about Faith:
She started diving as a freshman. “The summer after my eighth-grade year, I was at my grandparents’ house at Lake Coeur d’Alene, and I was jumping off the dock, just for fun,” said Faith, who also plays for Everett’s softball team. “My mom said, ‘Why don’t you try diving?’ I said, ‘That’s a sport?’ I didn’t know. At first I (was hesitant), but I joined the team, and I started to pick up skills quickly because of my background in gymnastics.”
Diving has helped her conquer her anxiety. “When I got to high school, it was hard for me to talk to people. I was nervous,” Faith said. “The diving (community) is smaller, not overwhelming, and so kind and accepting, and I’ve taken that attitude with me throughout high school. Now I love getting to know people, finding out about who they are, what their interests are. The diving community has taught me how to sit down and listen, to hear other peoples’ stories.”
She volunteers for a local nonprofit. This past summer Faith became involved with Courageous Connections Therapeutic Horsemanship, an organization that endeavors to promote the physical and emotional development of people of all ages and abilities through outdoor experiences. “They have a program (that teaches) special-needs kids how to learn to ride horses,” she said. “I help out with that when I can. I hadn’t ridden a horse since the seventh grade, but I’ve always been calm and comfortable around them. It’s been a lot of fun, and rewarding. It makes me feel good to make a difference in kids’ lives. It’s also fun to just hang out with horses and cool kids all day.”
She’s a member of Everett’s leadership and Torch Honor Society organizations. In the past three years, Faith has helped plan a variety of school and community activities, including homecoming dances, food drives, tutoring and events for special-needs students and senior citizens. “It’s a lot of work,” she said, “but the feeling of giving back and being a part of something way bigger than me is very satisfying.”
She’s interested in becoming an engineer. “My dad’s an engineer at Boeing, and he’s told me a bit about what it’s like,” said Faith, who’s considering attending the University of Idaho or Gonzaga University. “Physics, and the application of math, has always been interesting to me — building things, the mechanisms, how they function. I’m a math nerd. It’s something that’s always come easy to me. I like that there’s only one correct answer. Math is like solving a puzzle, and I like puzzles.”