Senior diver Jordan Marion is one of this year’s team captains, along with swimmers Quoia Sam and Cassidy Spisak, for the extremely talented Pioneer girls’ swimming AND diving team. You know them – yeah, the team that came within one point of winning a state title last year.
It’s OK if you forgot that because the Pioneers haven’t. But don’t think they mope around the pool deck trying to figure out where they could have picked up that one single point that would have given them a state title. After all, it was a difference between first and second, not first and last.
The Pioneers have other things to focus on – like what’s in front of them, not what’s behind them. And leading the way are the captains.
“After falling short a point in states last year, we were all crushed,” says Marion, a talented diver who has already stamped her ticket for Regionals. “It isn’t always talked about because there’s nothing we can do about it. All we can do is use it as motivation to not let it happen again this year.”
So far, so good. The undefeated Pioneers have been crushing it.
“The team as a whole is very supportive and everyone is extremely motivated,” Marion says. “Everyone has always been kind and welcoming. Winning states and the SEC meet are definitely our main goals for this season, especially since we came so close to winning states last season.”
Senior leadership has always been important to Pioneer swimming. Being a captain is an honor and responsibility that is not taken lightly. “We (Marion, Sam and Spisak) are all equals and put in a lot of effort to keep everyone on the team up to date and organized. It has been a challenge this year due to COVID but we are doing the best we can.”.
Speaking of COVID – diving into this school year has been difficult yet rewarding in many ways for many people. Marion says, “school has been tough online.”
“It can be a challenge to get motivated and keep up with the constant assignments the teachers are assigning,” she says.
But Marion is certainly keeping up as she tries to maintain or improve on her 3.945 GPA while working hard in the pool.
“Communication has been very hard this year with the pandemic,” she says. “The swim and dive team are one team, but two completely different sports. We don’t practice at the same time because of COVID restrictions and we aren’t allowed to do team bonding activities which has made it hard for the swimmers and divers to get to know each other.
“The beginning of the season was especially difficult. Every week we would hope to hear something about our season (whether we’d be having one or not). We all had to adjust with the pool being closed; the swimmers practiced in a lake and we did workouts outside at the football field for dive.”
Marion is excited to have qualified for diving Regionals again this year and hopes to make the state team as a senior. “So far, this season has gone really well. We are undefeated,” she says.
Jordan, the daughter of Tonya and Rich Marion (Pioneer’s boys’ varsity basketball coach), also plays softball in the spring for the Pioneers. She started diving her freshman year and has loved it ever since.
“I had recently quit club gymnastics and one of my old gymnastics teammates recommended switching to dive like she did,” Marion says. “It was perfect. Diving is a very mental sport and learning a new dive can be really scary sometimes but nothing feels better than finally nailing the dive you’ve been smacking on for the past two weeks.”
Marion, who dives for Legacy Diving in the off-season, says she has no plans to dive in college. “I do plan on going to school to pursue a career in the medical field,” she says.