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Palmer continues to push toward Olympic dream

By Carter Eckl ceckl@nevadaappeal.com

Hitting the water for the first time in several months has taken some readjustment for Olympic hopefully Krysta Palmer.

Being away from the diving board has allowed some rust to creep in, but that’s been due to lack of access, not lack of effort.  

The 2010 Douglas High grad and Carson City native said since she’s been able to get back on the board in the recent weeks, but the toughest part of her return to the pool has been reacclimating to the impact on her body.

“As much as we were trying to develop strength through lifting weights, it was still the force and impact of coming back that really took some time for our bodies to adapt,” said Palmer.

With the Summer Olympics in Tokyo being postponed until late July 2021, Palmer has embraced the extended training time – even if it’s come with different challenges.

Practicing without a pool

Palmer said she’s gained plenty of confidence while conditioning during quarantine.

Weight training in her friends’ neighborhood forced Palmer and company to get creative and use what was around them.

“One of our friends had access to a barbell and some weights so it was really nice for us, while we were outside of the pool, to be able to really dial in and be able to develop strength,” Palmer said. “My teammates really worked hard together to do the best we could and stay strong. … We tried to turn the struggle into a strength.”

The University of Nevada, Reno alumna felt that the new workouts helped her to stay upbeat and continue to push toward her dream of qualifying for the Olympics.

“My target goal and my eyes were just focused on 2021,” expressed Palmer. “Now, I have an extra year to get more consistency in my dives.”

Reliance on her teammates helped her push through the tough days to find motivation to train away from the water.

However, the return to the platform has come with its own set of challenges.

Returning to normal

Mentally, getting back into the pool alleviated most of the rough patches about being away from the sport she loves.

Diving for the first time in months quickly showed Palmer the brunt of her forced absence from the sport.

The force of impact has meant even her return to the pool has come with adjustments.

“As athletes, we want to grind and grind, and give it all to what we were doing in the pool. We want to get back to that right away,” said Palmer.

In conversations with her sports psychologist, Palmer said she began to realize that her body wasn’t going to be as prepared as her mind.

The discussions readied her for the inevitability of not feeling 100 percent when she was able to get back to her normal routine.

With the goal of qualifying for the Olympics at the forefront of her mind, not being able to push her training right from the jump took some wind out of her sails early on.

“That was a little bit of a mental struggle cause you’re back in the pool and that’s so exciting because you get to do what you love to do again,” Palmer said. “However, your body is just one step behind your mind.”

Palmer also serves as a volunteer assistant diving coach at University of Nevada, Reno, but can’t help train athletes after the Mountain West Conference called off the fall sports season.

Returning to coaching will come without any doubts for Palmer, who hopes she can continue help to grow the Wolf Pack divers when its safe to do so.

As for her national team plans, with an additional year to train USA Diving has penciled in December to reselect athletes for the FINA Diving World Cup, which is in late February.

USA Diving also announced last week the Olympic Team Trials will be held June 6-13, 2021 in Indianapolis at IUPUI.

With her path toward the 2021 Olympics beginning to reform, Palmer wants to be even better than she would have been in any competition in 2020.