by John D. Hubbard|
When Gail Majdalany Heaslip '79 needed some help in her preparations for the World Masters Diving Championships she returned to the source.
With her college coach Mark Randall looking on, Heaslip ran through her dives, plunging into the familiar waters of Lineberry Natatorium.
"It's great fun, sort of like coming home," says Heaslip of the sessions with Randall. "We communicate so easily. He sees a problem and tells me exactly what to do to fix it."
Says Randall: "She's used to how I appraise things and able to understand what I'm saying."
Even more than making adjustments on Gail's back twister, Randall provides inspiration. "He's always been very encouraging and always stressed good sportsmanship. Even now he gives me a lot of life lessons. I'm reminded of how important it is to help others." Gail and her husband Craig '79 have two daughters, Emily (8) and Jamie (5) who accompanied their mother to the latest workout.
Gail returned to diving two years ago, motivated to do so when she began teaching young divers. "I basically took 15 years off," says Heaslip, who was second in the nationals last year from both the one- and three-meter boards.
"It's quite a thrill to see Gail's maintained her basic fundamentals," says Randall. "Her diving is exceptional. With very little work she is almost back where she was at her peak." That would be college all-America.
There are 125 divers competing at the masters level, which begins with the over 25 division.
"Body memory takes over," says Heaslip, "but I'm still struggling with consistency. I could go to England [the world championships are held in Sheffield] and do well or be awful."
The results matter less this time around to Gail. "There is a great feeling of camaraderie among the divers." Inspired by the older competitors -- one woman began diving in her 70s and is still going strong at 93 -- Gail has realized "to stay young you have to stay with it."
Again, Randall provides a sterling example. "Talk about people staying young. He's so amazing. He seems the same as ever to me." For Gail Heaslip and Mark Randall it's all part of a special relationship.