Marysville-Pilchuck’s Leif Anderson, senior, competes in the diving competition Jan. 10, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Anderson finished 12th in the 3A state meet last season. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marysville-Pilchuck’s Leif Anderson, senior, competes in the diving competition Jan. 10, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Anderson finished 12th in the 3A state meet last season. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Q&A with Marysville Pilchuck diver Leif Anderson

He loves astronomy and physics, and has been known to blow a few things up every now and then

Leif Anderson grew up as a swimmer, a member of Marysville’s Mighty Marlins Swim Club. But when he got to Marysville Pilchuck High School, he decided he wanted to try diving as well.

“(To swim and dive) is more unique. Usually a person does one or the other, but not both,” Tomahawks boys swimming coach Meredith Jenks said. “The few who do both decently have the ability to do both, and Leif definitely does.”

Anderson, a senior, is one of Marysville Pilchuck’s top sprinters and breaststrokers, but diving has become his main event. He finished 12th at the Class 3A state meet last year.

“He has natural talent,” Tomahawks diving coach Shauna Kopischka said. “He’s an adventurous kid, and he likes to push the limits. He’s doing tougher dives pretty easily, and he’s doing them without fear.”

The Herald recently spoke with Andersen about his swimming and diving background, other interests and future plans:

What do you like best about swimming and diving?

A lot of it is my teammates. They’re awesome people, and I love hanging out with them. For me, it’s not really about winning, it’s just about hanging out with friends — even people on other teams. I’m not really a competitive person. I just like to go out and have fun.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?

During my sophomore year, I hit the board (during a dive). My entire junior year I was terrified of diving. I thought every time I got on the board something bad would happen. Last January, before our first dive qualifier, I was terrified. I showed up and told my coach, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ After that we had a lot of talks, and she helped me to realize that everything would be OK. I learned that it’s never good to run away from your fears.

Are you involved in any other school activities?

I take classes through Running Start at Everett Community College, where I’m the vice president of the physics club. We meet up to talk about astronomy- and physics-based things, and people can come to us with homework questions. We do demonstrations on things like vacuum chambers, or we blow something up and explain the physics behind it. We also have ‘star parties,’ where we go somewhere with our telescopes and look at the night sky. It’s a lot of fun.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’m going to go to Western Washington University to get my bachelor’s degree, then transfer to the University of Washington for graduate school. I’m going to try to study astrophysics. Eventually I could work for a university doing research, or work for a space engineering company like Boeing or NASA or SpaceX.

How did you become interested in astronomy and physics?

Even as far back as elementary school, I was drawn toward my science classes. I like the joy of discovering things and what science has done for the advancement of technology. I’d love to be a part of that. It would be amazing to discover something that helps advance our lives.

What else do you do in your free time?

I’m an outdoors person. I love to ski, and I’ve gone mountain climbing maybe four times over the past couple of summers, mostly at local (spots) like the North Cascades. It’s a lot of fun to do — it’s hard work, but it pays off at the end. When you get to the top of the mountain, it feels really good.

How would you describe your personality?

I’d say I’m easygoing. I just go with the flow, hang out. If I need to get something done I’ll get it done. I don’t really get stressed about too many things.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Lake Stevens running back Jayden Limar and the Vikings made their presence felt during the abbreviated spring high school football season. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep football season in review: Top teams, games, performances

The top 5 teams, top 5 games and top 15 performances from the abbreviated high school football season.

The Herald’s Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 5-11

The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 5-11. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Jackson's Amanda Wingert connects with a pitch during a game against Everett on Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. The Timberwolves won 14-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Return of spring sports brings excitement, challenges

Teams in Wesco played their first games since 2019 this week after last season was canceled.

The Herald's Prep Athlete of the Month.
Vote for The Herald’s Athlete of the Month for March 2021

The candidates are the winners of the four athlete-of-the-week polls during the month.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Americans snap Silvertips’ win streak

Talyn Boyko records 37 saves as Tri-City wins 6-2 to end Everett’s four-game win streak.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Friday, April 9

Prep results for Friday, April 9: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report scores… Continue reading

Jackson's Helena Ah-Loe is high-fived after a home run against Everett Thursday afternoon at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on April 8, 2021. Jackson dominated Everett, 15-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
GALLERY: Jackson scores nine in the first, thumps Everett

The Timberwolves moved to 2-0 on the season behind a big day at the plate.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Goncalves’ late goal lifts Silvertips over Thunderbirds

The standout forward’s 7th goal of the season with under two minutes to play gives Everett a 4-3 win.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Thursday, April 8

Prep results for Thursday, April 8: Baseball Wesco Arlington 11, Glacier Peak… Continue reading

Snohomish's Kendall Bensen competes in the 100 yard back stroke finishing sixth Saturday evening during the 3A Girls Swim & Dive Championship at King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way on November 16, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Local girls swimmers, divers earn All-Wesco marks

The league held a virtual meet to honor athletes from its Class 4A, 3A North and 3A South divisions.

Prep sports roundup.
Prep sports roundup for Wednesday, April 7

Prep results for Wednesday, April 7: BASEBALL Wesco Meadowdale 5, Lynnwood 3… Continue reading

Marysville Getchell's Bradley Aasen slides into second base while Marysville Pilchuck's Alex Smith reaches to tag him during the game on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GALLERY: Getchell blanks Pilchuck as spring sports return

The Chargers welcome the return of spring sports after an almost two-year absence with a 10-0 win.