Zoe Keffer was crazy, they thought.
Friends, family and her swim coaches were already stunned when, in the middle of her junior season she decided — with no background — to become a diver after 2 1/2 years as a successful high school swimmer.
But then, after she shattered her nose attempting a dive a month into her career, she waited just three weeks before she was back on the diving board ready to jump again.
“We were having heart attacks,” longtime Golden Warriors swim coach Marlyn Fitzgerald said. “There she was, a day before surgery, diving again. After she broke her nose, we told her she didn’t have to get back on the board. But she is so courageous and so dedicated.”
Less than a year after attempting her first dive, Keffer has fallen head-over-heals in love with her event and has emerged as one of the top divers on the powerhouse Andover swimming and diving team.
“Diving is very, very scary,” Keffer said. “When you are out on the board, you realize how little control you have over your body. It’s very scary, but it is also very exciting. I absolutely loved it from my first dive, and I feel like I am a naturally stronger and more confident person since I started to dive.”
Since childhood, Keffer had been a competitive swimmer. She then became a promising member of the Golden Warriors, placing fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:29.19) at the Division 1 state meet as a sophomore.
So it stunned everyone when, midway through last season, she declared that she wanted to become a diver.
“During high school practice one day, I decided I wanted to try diving,” Keffer said. “I always thought it looked like fun and so I went up on the board and tried it and thought it was great. Everyone thought I was really crazy.”