Q&A With Diving's Molly Hayes

Jan. 28, 2010

BERKELEY - CalBears.com caught up with diver Molly Hayes before the sophomore left with the rest of the Golden Bears on their trip to Los Angeles. The sophomore made a big impact in No. 5 Cal's 165-134 upset of No. 2 Arizona on Jan. 23 in Berkeley by sweeping both springboard events. She posted a score of 258.63 to win the one-meter springboard by 17.50 points over the next diver and scored 259.88 to win the three-meter springboard by just .38 points over freshman teammate Kelsey Heiken.

CalBears.com: How did it feel to contribute in a big way to the win over Arizona?
Molly Hayes:
It was really exciting, probably one of the high points of my career. The meet Friday against ASU didn't go as well, so my coach, Ben Herdt, and I talked about what went wrong and how were going to fix that. I went into the mindset that I wanted to do my best and try to do my dives how I know how to do them. Winning was a bonus.

Teri McKeever said to me before the meet, 'We really need the divers to help.' I thought, Well, I'll try my best. It was definitely a close meet. The thing that helped me a lot was that I was very consistent. Though I didn't do my best dives, I didn't mess up.

CalBears.com: Teri said some nice things about the divers after the meet.
It was very special. I know a lot of us have worked hard to be a more respected sport, trying to be on par with swimming. I respect the swimmers so much. They're all very, very talented and good people. It's been an uphill battle, but I think we're reaching the point where we're breaking through, and we can only go up from here.

CalBears.com: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
For the dual-meet season, to keep performing consistently. A lot of these teams are even tougher than Arizona and Arizona State, especially USC. For Pac-10s, the same goal, and maybe try to make it into a final.

CalBears.com: What's your best event?
Probably the one meter. I'm definitely a lot more comfortable down there.

CalBears.com: Ben Herdt is in his first year as Cal diving coach. What's he like?
He definitely brought a new kind of team approach and different kinds of training, which I think has helped us a lot.

CalBears.com: Since you're sophomores, you, Laura Sanford and Alissa Barker are the most experienced collegiate divers at Cal, though there's only one year between you and freshmen Kelsey Heiken and Rachel Becker. Do you feel like a veteran diver here?
We're all kind of on the same level, especially with Ben coming in this year. I know the freshmen look up to us a lot, always asking us for advice. I've always looked up to my older teammates and also the older swimmers.

CalBears.com: How did you get into diving?
My neighbor was a gymnast, and she had a board in her backyard pool. She taught me how to do a flip; I'd jump off it all the time. My mom signed me up for diving lessons, and I loved it.

CalBears.com: Did you play other sports growing up?
I started diving in the eighth grade, and I played soccer through the eighth grade. Soccer was okay, but I like diving a lot more.

CalBears.com: What are your hobbies?
Since I've been here at Cal, it's mainly been school and diving. I enjoy hanging out with my teammates and my other friends. I like hiking and watching movies; the usual.

CalBears.com: Do you have any favorite hiking trails?
I like going to the Big C and up on the Berkeley Fire Trails. It's a lot of fun. We went a lot during winter training when we had some time off.

CalBears.com: You're a Bay Area native from Los Gatos. Did you want to go to college locally? Did you always want to go to Cal?
I actually didn't always want to go to Cal. The first time I'd ever been here was November in my senior year of high school. I for sure always wanted to go to school in California. We have the best weather here, and I wouldn't want to leave. I actually wanted to go to UC Davis when I was younger, and that changed over time because of diving.

CalBears.com: Did either of your parents go to Cal?
No. Both my parents are from Ireland. They moved here about 22 years ago, right before I was born.

CalBears.com: What kind of music do you like?
I like all types of music. My favorite band is Atmosphere. Our team enjoys a lot of the pop hits, too, like from Lady Gaga.

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