Meghan DeRubeis saw instant success in her debut campaign as a diver last year and is looking to have a solid season season with the Nighthawks this fall. Photo courtesy of Meghan DeRubeis
Fears are meant to be conquered in the heated moments of sports. The satisfaction of overcoming an obstacle can certainly be told through the story of Meghan DeRubeis, a junior on the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team. Meghan conquered her fears by joining the team as a diver who had little to no experience in the sport last year. Meghan’s willingness to strive in a supportive environment gave the Nighthawks a lift during a postseason run that was capped with a second-place finish at the Class M State Championship.
Meghan didn’t get a chance to compete as much as she wanted to last season due to an injury. However, she returned to the team by the middle of the season and posted an incredible finish in her first meet. Following that meet, Meghan gained confidence and then strung together multiple top-five finishes.
“Everybody had already been diving for months. Placing second in my first high school meet ever and getting scores that are unheard of—receiving those scores on my first dives—was just a big accomplishment for me and very memorable,” says Meghan. “It was a really big accomplishment for me getting over that fear of starting a new sport. It was a moment of proudness and joy for me.”
Meghan’s dives looked smoother and cleaner meet after meet. Last year’s diving lineup was strong and earned the Nighthawks a good number of points in each contest. Meghan made positive contributions to the team’s 6-5 record with her performance. North Haven finished in sixth place at the SCC Championship and then earned runner-up honors at the Class M State Championship, where Meghan finished in 11th place for her final diving competition of the season.
In a short period of time, Meghan learned a lot of important things that helped her become a successful diver. Meghan overcame her lack of experience through her desire to learn and improve.
“You have to be open to the sport first. To me, diving is one of the scariest sports because of everything going into it. You just need to be confident in yourself, listen to your body, and accepting of the environment,” Meghan says. “Taking constructive criticism is one of the big things. You have to be able to take it, because you’re not always going to be perfect. You have to be able to take pointers and correct it.”
Head Coach Ken Pierson admires that growth that Meghan made in her first season as a diver. Meghan’s career as a competitive gymnast gave her familiarity with some of the flips and specific body movements early on. That seamless transition into diving proved a huge help for North Haven throughout the season.
“She has advanced in all of her other dives, so it gives her a higher degree of difficulty to boost up her point total,” Pierson says of Meghan. “Obviously, being her first year last year, she was able to pick up the dives pretty quickly. We had a good group of seniors that left, but we expect her to fill in where they left off.”
Meghan has always focused on finding ways to improve her dives since she joining the Nighthawks. Meghan feels that mentally preparing for each dive is one of the biggest keys to succeeding in the sport.
“One thing that I focus on is not getting in my head. I can’t get in my head about it, and I can’t get mad if I mess up,” says Meghan. “There’s always ways going to be another time, and there’s always going to be ways to improve. I really learned ways to ultimately get over the fear that I have and just trying out new stuff so I can be the best diver that I can be.”
Meghan’s remarkable growth on the diving board skyrocketed as a result of her motivation. This year, Meghan is motivated to make it to the State Open Championship by continuing to push herself to be the best diver she can be. Meghan continues to focus on both her strengths and weaknesses as she works toward reaching her goals.
“My motivation for myself, always being in an individual sport, is to just push yourself. You’re your own competition. Even with school, that’s the biggest thing for me,” Meghan says. “I always want to beat myself. I’m never comparing myself to other people. I just want to be better than I can be.”
Meghan’s comeback to the pool following her injury last year was sparked by her teammates. Their encouragement during difficult times is one of the biggest reasons why Meghan loves being a diver for North Haven.
While she’s currently recovering from an offseason injury, Meghan feels excited to be reuniting with her teammates for the 2022 campaign. Meghan has set high goals for herself as a junior and believes that her ability to overcome her fears, coupled with the support of her teammates, puts her in a great position to succeed once again this season.
“The team and the coaches are the best things about the program. Everyone’s so supportive and so caring that it was just so exciting to get back into it,” says Meghan. “It’s not even a team. It’s a family.”