WPIAL champion diver Maria Lohman sets sights on 2016 Olympic Games

| Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Everyone has his or her eyes on London right now, but Olympic hopeful Maria Lohman of Scott is looking at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Lohman, who will be 15 on Aug. 25, is a member of the USA Diving Junior Elite Performance Squad. Formed two years ago, the squad consists of 55 boys and girls who want to qualify for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

The only member from the Pittsburgh area, Lohman was selected after finishing eighth in the 1-meter event, 12th in the 3-meter and 26th in platform in the girls 12-13 age group at the 2010 Junior National Championships.

Members are evaluated every year. Lohman cemented her position on the squad after finishing 17th in the 1-meter and 26th in the 3-meter in the 14-15 age group at last year's championships. She will be evaluated again after this year's championships Aug. 4-10 in Greensboro, N.C., where she has qualified in the girls 14-15 1-meter.

Lohman spent about a week last fall at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., receiving training and nutrition tips with other performance squad members. She is expected to attend similar camps in the future, according to USA Diving spokeswoman Emily Adams.

“The performance squad is still in the developmental stage, but the main goal is to have divers ready if they qualify for the Olympics,” Adams said. “We don't want them qualifying, then competing right away without being prepared. We want them to have an idea what to expect.

“It can take years to groom them.”

Lohman, who has been diving since she was 9 or 10, trains year-round with the Pitt Aquatic Club, which is the USA Diving club at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Maria is at the right place at the right time,” Pitt Aquatic Club coach Julian Krug said. “She's had spurts of spectacular dives that I am sure have caught USA Diving's eye. They see a lot of potential there, the same way we do, and want to work with her.”

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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