Elizabeth L. “Beth” Stavely ’11, who was named an All-American diver this year at the NCAA Division III championship, enjoys falling from great heights. Before coming to MIT, Beth completed a skydiving course and earned her “A” license, which allows her to jump from an airplane alone. She has also been honing her daredevil skills by taking classes at a trapeze school in Reading, Mass., since the summer. This love for falling and soaring through the air may have begun in her early years when she started gymnastics at age 4. A competitive gymnast since elementary school, Beth continued with the sport here at MIT.
At the beginning of her sophomore year, some friends joined the diving team and urged her to give it a try. Unwilling to give up gymnastics just yet but still enjoying diving, she participated in both sports, going to diving practice directly after gymnastics practice a couple times a week. She joined the diving team full time when varsity gymnastics was cut at the end of the season. And despite only beginning the sport in college, she has certainly made her mark on the MIT diving team these past three years.
Beth’s latest season had its highs and lows, the height of which was capped by qualifying for Nationals for the first time. Out of all Division III divers, only about 50 qualified, and only 22 of those were selected by a panel of coaches to compete at the meet. Beth was not only selected, but placed eighth in the 3 meter event, which got her an All-American title, and 15th in the 1 meter event, earning her an All-American honorable mention.
What does she like most about MIT diving? Beth says, “I love the team; they are the most supportive teammates I’ve ever had. Diving is in many ways a mental sport, and without my teammates and coach to help me along I would never have gotten to where I did. Also, for a varsity sport, I love how relaxed it is. [Coach Brad Snodgrass] is very chill about us having to miss practice if we have class or homework.”
That’s lucky for Beth, because while not rock climbing, skiing, reading, playing computer games, or enjoying one of her other extracurricular interests, Beth is a Course 16 senior. She isn’t able to coast through senior spring, but she says her semester “could be worse.” Why Course 16? Beth says she decided before coming to MIT because she has “always been interested in space, and my Dad was an engineer.” After graduation she will go to grad school, “probably at the University of Michigan,” where she wants to continue diving with her remaining year of NCAA eligibility.