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Wilkinson Still Refining Dives

April 23, 2006|From the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — When Laura Wilkinson looks around the pool deck, she sees wide-eyed teenagers nearly half her age with compact bodies and fancy moves.

Yet the 28-year-old stateswoman of American women's diving says she still feels like one of the kids, even as she refuses to let them push her into retirement.

"I feel the strongest I've ever been and I'm getting faster," she said as she prepared to compete at the U.S. Open in Indianapolis. "I never dreamed I'd be doing the dives I am now. It's given me new goals and new passion, and I feel like I'm just starting again."

In some ways, Wilkinson has gotten a second chance.

She decided to skip the international competition in China this week, where most of her Olympic teammates are, so she could refine three new dives in Indianapolis. She returned from wrist surgery in January 2005 wanting to learn more, test the limits and challenge herself against the impressive youngsters who hope to dethrone the 2000 Olympic champion.

If Wilkinson has her way, they'll have to wait a few more years.

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