Diving... with Mary Beth Corbett

Jan. 31, 2010

Mary Beth Corbett, a sophomore diver from Louisville, Kentucky, has two passions in life; spinning through the air at incredibly high speeds and performing Broadway's best melodies on stage.

During her freshman season, Corbett practiced her way to 11th and 13th place at the finals of the one- and three-meter competitions at the Pac-10 Championships. Corbett finished 15th in the finals of the platform at the Zone E Championships a week later, and 16th in the one-meter event. The busy year also saw her on stage in the Stanford spring production of Aida.

This year, in addition to her work in the water, Corbett joined the Stanford Shakespeare Company and was cast in Sondheim's Into the Woods this spring. She has also been heard belting the National Anthem at varsity volleyball and basketball games this Fall and Winter.

Over the years she has received significant amounts of coaching advice, but maintains that Stanford Diving Coach Dr. Rick Schavone's advice is her guide. 'You always have to remember that it's a game. Diving is a game, and you have to play the game. The only way to get to that point is that you have to practice 525,600 times.' She laughs at the reference to the Broadway musical Rent. 'He's really into musicals; we get along very well.'

'I am a quirky person, so the dives that I did in high school were not what normal girl divers my age were doing,' Corbett says with a smile, discussing her pre-Stanford diving. 'I learned the back 2 ½ on the one-meter which is really, really hard. I tried to do a back 2 ½ with 1½ twists on the three-meter. That's 2½ flips and twisting 1½ times. That was disastrous!'

Her 'over twisted and under flipped' dive was included on the video that she sent to coaches, highlighting both her determination and moxie, ultimately giving her the opportunity to compete for the Cardinal.

'Here at Stanford it's a personal victory when my teammates do well because we are one unit... we are a family. On the women's team, both Carmen Stellar and Meg Hostage serve as great diving role models. They set high goals and obtain them. It gives me hope that nothing I strive for is unreachable.'

Whether the stage is lit up with bright lights or suspended several meters above a pool, Mary Beth Corbett will continue to perform at the highest level, always hitting the right notes.

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