Meghan Zets started diving her sophomore year at Grovetown High School and has been raising her own bar ever since.
She advanced to the state meet that initial campaign and finished 10th in the state last year. She won her third consecutive Columbia County 1-meter diving championship Jan. 22 and closes her senior year at the state meet Feb. 8.
Her goal for the competition is straightforward.
“I want to be in the top five,” said Zets.
That she has come so far so fast is a credit to her natural ability and hard work. And her background in another sport didn’t hurt.
“I did gymnastics,” Zets said. “I quit toward the end of freshman year and then I went to cheerleading. And that was just not me.”
Zets was looking for more.
“I quit gymnastics because I was tired of not having a life,” Zets said. “But all I did was sit at home and watch TV, and I was like, ‘This sucks,’ so I had to do something.”
Former Grovetown swim coach Greg Young made a pitch for her to come out and dive for the team.
“He thought since I was used to flipping and twisting I’d be great at it,” said Zets. “He turned out to be right.”
Grovetown head coach Dee Alton likes the way Zets goes about her training, which is at least three days a week and four days a week during the summer.
“Meghan is great and super-dedicated,” said Alton. “She is so confident for her age and that will serve her well.”
Jim Tingen, the Augusta Diving Club diving coach, has worked with Zets for the past two years, along with a majority of the high school divers in the county.
“She’s our elite senior,” said Tingen. “She’s a hard worker, she’s spunky, the other girls look up to her, she’s a leader. I would love to see a college get a hold of her and take off with her.”
She went on a recruiting trip to West Florida University on Friday, and the Pensacola school fits some of her college criteria right off the bat.
“I’m looking for a good nursing program, an environment I would feel comfortable in – and I want to be close to the beach,” said Zets. “I’ve always wanted to live on the beach and be with a good diving program. Somewhere I wouldn’t be too far behind or too far ahead.”
Wanting to be a nurse since taking a clinical class her sophomore year, Zets got to do her senior project on bone-marrow transplants at the Georgia Regents University.
“It’s super exciting,” said Zets. “I got to watch a biopsy. I got to take pictures of the bone marrow. It actually made me think about being a BMT nurse, working in there.”
But first, the state meet awaits, and she is happy to be going there with diving teammates Shantel Rausch and Katelyn Morgan.
“I don’t know how I would do it if they didn’t go with me,” she said. “I’d feel so alone. It’s good to have support from your teammates.”