by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson senior Brittany Seibert's promising gymnastics career came to an unfortunate end when she suffered a stress fracture.
Oddly enough, it may have actually been the best thing that ever happened to her.
Seibert recently signed a national letter of intent to continue her academic and diving careers at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Seibert had been a member of the Hudson swimming and diving team for the last three years after competing for the gymnastics team as a freshman.
The girls swimming and diving team finished seventh at the 2014 state meet.
Although the gymnastics team finished second at the 2011 Division I state meet, Seibert's injury forced her to switch sports.
"It was just too rough," she said. "It was a heartbreaking injury. I practiced [gymnastics] every single day."
Fortunately, something else was available. And to some degree, it was similar to gymnastics.
"I started to consider diving," Seibert said. "A lot of former gymnasts go into diving."
It didn't take long for Seibert to become a natural at her new sport.
She was a two-time district qualifier and just missed advancing to the state meet last winter.
"She adjusted quickly and is very coachable," Hudson head diving coach Dan Miller said. "A lot of gymnasts have kinesetic awareness to flip and spin. The difference is landing on your head rather than landing on your feet. Brittany never struggled with that."
Seibert, who plans to major in international business, hopes to fine-tune her skills even more on the collegiate level.
Drexel finished eighth at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships and 7-4 in dual meets.
Seibert also considered the University of New Hampshire, the University of Denver and George Mason University (Va.).
"I was drawn to live in Philly," Seibert said. "The campus is very urban. I had breakfast with diving coach Katryn Valladares and we had instant chemistry."
Prior to joining the high school team, Seibert got her first taste of diving with the American Flyers Diving team in Northfield. Marc Cahalane is the team's head coach and Miller is an assistant coach.
"Brittany actually started diving just before her sophomore year," Miller said. "We saw some success and we were super excited."
She certainly had the right people to push her.
Seibert spent time with Taryn McLaughlin and Rachel Speakman, who were two-time state qualifiers at Hudson.
McLaughlin now dives at James Madison University (Va.) and Speakman dives at Brown University (R.I.).
"Taryn and Rachel were definitely my role models," Seibert said. "James Madison is in the CAA, so I will be excited to compete against her."
Seibert also enjoyed spending time with her coach.
"Dan is really awesome," Seibert said. "He always supported me. When I had bad days, he kept coaching me. He always helped me become a stronger athlete and a stronger person."
Seibert certainly paid her dues.
Unlike most sports, diving doesn't rely on others to bail you out. You're totally on your own.
"I think diving is the most demanding sport on the high school level," Miller said. "You have to flip backwards on a long piece of diving board and that's scary. It's the only sport where you're doing one thing at a time."
Miller believes his star diver has only scratched the surface when it comes to her potential.
"Just about everybody gets better in college," he said. "Brittany will be on a weightlifting plan and she will train 20 hours per week during the season. She is definitely on her way up."