Former Olympic coach to lead Douglas diving team |

Former Olympic coach to lead Douglas diving team

by Chuck Smock

The Carson Valley Diving Team has taken a big step toward becoming one of the strongest programs in the state with the hiring of new coach Chunhua Zhao.

During her 10-year coaching career in China, Zhao (pronounced “Chow”) coached the Chinese national one-meter and three-meter champions as well as the diver who won the gold medal in the 10-meter platform at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

She currently lives in Reno and coaches the University of Nevada, Reno diving club.

The Carson Valley Diving Team will begin workouts on Monday, June 14. It will cater to everyone from beginning divers to Olympic hopefuls.

Zhao said it’s not a stretch to think that high-school age divers could be competitive at the state level within one year.

“I want them to practice more and to enjoy the diving competition,” she said Monday afternoon at the Carson Valley Swim Center. “If they practice for a couple of months, they will be able to enjoy the competitions.”

The CV Diving Team is registered and sanctioned with United States Diving. The squad will offer two different workout groups: novice and developmental. Novices will practice once or twice a week and will pay $85 per month. Developmental divers will train three times a week and will pay $100 per month.

Workouts will be held at the Carson Valley Swim Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m.

Additionally, divers will have to register with U.S. Diving, which costs $50 per year and is mandatory for insurance purposes.

The team will be open to divers 6 years old and older. Zhao said children who have been involved in gymnastics make an especially easy transition to diving.

Linda Rigdon has been helping coach the team for the last four years, following the departure of former coach Bo Pritchard, who left for a job at the collegiate level.

“Her expertise is so good, we can offer a lot more (training) than we’ve been able to the last four years,” Rigdon said. “We could coach everybody from beginners to Olympic-level divers, if they have the desire.

“I’m excited to have someone here with this much coaching ability.”