South Surrey White Rock Divers teen representing Canada at worlds event in Montreal

Fifteen metres might not sound like much. But when you’re on a tiny diving board, more than 49 feet above a pool of water, the height likely seems like a lot more.

For Carter Baker, a 17-year-old South Surrey resident, flipping and twisting and turning off towers as high as a five-storey building is fun.

“I’ve trained my mind not to think about the height, but in all honesty it doesn’t scare me that much,”Baker said.

“If the choice was mine I would be competing higher than 15 metres.”

After winning the first junior Canadian National High Diving championships, the local teen is preparing to compete at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships, happening until Dec. 4 in Montreal.

“These athletes will make up the majority of the competitive field at both the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games,” states the FINA website.

At the Worlds event he will be diving off of a 15m platform, jetting off of a cat walk into the water below, noted SSWR Divers coach Gregory Cox.

As of now, Baker’s most complex dive is a back double with three twists.

“It will be one of the hardest dives if not the hardest dive being performed in my event,” Baker said.

Baker started diving with South Surrey White Rock Divers five years ago, after transitioning from high-level gymnastics.

He quickly began competing at a provincial and national level on the 10-metre platform and three-metre springboard – the type of diving you see in the Olympics.

Now, Baker has found fast success in the new realm of high diving, his coach Igor Kopecky said.

“He’s really got a special cat-like ability to know where he is in the air at all times,” Kopecky said.

“It takes away his fear when he goes higher… his lithe system and orientation is very fast at processing, so if he feels a little bit off, (in his take-off or in the air) he knows almost instantly.”

Kopecky is excited for the upcoming competition – Baker competes Dec. 3 and 4 – and says that the preparation is going well.

“I think he will fare quite well on the world stage. He’s a good competitor.”

Baker won’t be alone at the Worlds. His two South Surrey White Rock Diving teammates, Ana Ricci and Rodrigo Cardona, both 15 and representing Peru (Lima) and Spain (Madrid) respectively, are also competing at the event.

South Surrey White Rock Divers was established in 1994 by three-time Olympic diver Beverly Boys. The club has divers as young as five and as old as 91. They offer programs at all levels and have divers competing in local competitions, as well as nationally and internationally.

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– files from Tricia Weel, staff reporter

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