Boca Raton teen divers set sights on highest platform, with help from Olympian coach

Kaylee Bishop, Emilie Moore compete in Olympic trials
Kaylee Bishop and Emilie Moore, Boca Raton teen divers
Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 15, 2021

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — If there was ever a place where champions climb to new heights, it is at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

"It's just a rush of nerves," Kaylee Bishop, 14, said. "You hear your team cheering your name, then it goes silent."

This is a place where every move must be calculated.

"Fear keeps you in control," Emilie Moore, 16, said.

It's a place where power and energy come together and take flight.

"I take a deep breath, I count in my head and take off, and it's just me flying through the air," Moore said.

Both Boca Raton teenagers have stepped off diving boards thousands of times and know what it takes to make an impression in the water.

"Don't be afraid to fail," Moore said. "Be afraid not to try, and I feel like that just, like, is the sport of diving."

Kaylee Bishop and Emilie Moore sit on high dive at Coral Springs Aquatic Center
Kaylee Bishop and Emilie Moore sit on the edge of a diving board at the Coral Springs Aquatic Center, where they train together.

"It's a mental game, and if you keep fighting and you're confident up there, you're going to go as far as you want to go," Bishop added.

Each has taken their skills across the world claiming medals and applause in Chile, England and Canada, to name a few. They want Tokyo next.

"We're pretty excited," Moore said.

"So excited," Bishop agreed. "I can't even put it in words. It's just the experience that you get to say you went to Olympic trials."

The two competed in Indianapolis recently for a spot at the summer games next month. They had a lot of motivation by their side from someone who felt the glory of the world's highest athletic stage.

"It was amazing," Michelle Sandelin, who has been coaching the girls for years, recalls of her own Olympic experience. "We spent a month in Sydney in 2000, and just to wear red, white and blue and represent your country, it's such an honor."

No one knows this journey better. She dove headfirst into its fight and frustration and surfaced to see its thrill and triumph.

Michelle Sandelin, Olympian diver and coach
Michelle Sandelin was a member of the U.S. Olympic dive team in Sydney in 2000. She now coaches Kaylee Bishop and Emilie Moore.

"Not every day is going to be easy," Sandelin said. "You know, you have to work hard, you're not going to feel good somedays, but knowing what is out there that you want to achieve, it just keeps you going."

Hard work, dedication and focus are the driving forces behind every plummet into this pool as these athletes are determined to rise to the occasion and see where that next step will take them.

"As soon as I walk up to the end of the platform, I know it's my time to shine," Moore said.

"That adrenaline in you just makes you want to keep coming up here and nailing dives, nailing dives, nailing dives," Bishop said.