Player Profiles Sports

AOTW: Record-Holder Zack Peng ’21 Dives with Experience and Intensity

Zack Peng ’21 placed fourth at the Easterns Championship this weekend.

Zack Peng ’21 currently holds Andover’s school record for one-meter diving as well as the Andover/Exeter record. After leaving his competitive swimming career behind to start diving at his local recreation center, Peng has made it to Nationals for diving and placed fourth at Easterns this season. According to Johann Asmus-Leon ’20, Peng’s complete focus both during meets and at practice is an inspiration to the rest of the team.

“Zack is a super nice teammate. He motivates us all, and he makes sure we’re happy on the team… in practice and out of it too. Zack works really hard. He’s never really happy with himself, he always wants to improve, and he’s always very focused during his dives. Zack is a really great diver,” said Asmus-Leon.

Peng’s hard work and determination have earned him The Phillipian’s title of Athlete of the Week.

What’s your favorite part about diving?

I think my favorite part is the sport itself, in a sense how demanding it is, how much it pushes an athlete, physically and mentally. It really just tests how strong you are—being able to get up and do the dive, not only in practice but in competitions when all the pressure is on you, and being able to do the dive well.

How were you introduced to diving?

I used to do competitive swimming when I was younger, and one day I looked over to the deep end of the pool at our local rec center, and I saw a bunch of people doing flips and spins off of various heights, and I looked at my mom and said, ‘Mom I want to try that,’ and that’s how it all started.

What’s a favorite memory you have from diving?

I think a favorite memory is just last year because since coming to Andover I haven’t been able to do year-round diving, which I used to, so I only dive in-season. Last year my coaches, both here at Andover… and back home… wanted me to dive at U.S.A. Diving [and] to go to Regionals. So I went and I did really well, especially for the three-meter. I literally just showed up and chucked all of my dives without any practice. I think I got fourth and then third in the one-meter, which was just insane, and that was a really big victory for me, and I carried that all the way through to Nationals actually.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

Mainly for me, it’s just always making sure I’m stretched out. That’s a really important thing. Honestly, I also have to go to the bathroom before I dive in order to dive well.

Is there a professional diver who you look up to?

His name is Qiu Bo. He’s a Chinese diver. He’s insane, and he’s gone to the Olympics multiple times.

Do you have a role model on the team?

Besides my [Head Coach Belinda Wolf] I’d probably say my captain, Claire Davis ’20. She’s always so calm and collected, and she always knows what she’s doing. She’s also very consistent.

What are your goals for your future in diving?

I hope that I get the chance to dive in college. That’s my current plan, and then hopefully I’ll do really well in the NCAA.

Do you have a favorite food at commons?

Creamy tomato soup, generally, with grilled cheese is my favorite.

What type of music do you like to listen to?

I like a variety of music. I like certain country songs as well as certain pop songs as well as certain hip hop songs. My favorite artist is J. Cole. He hypes me up a lot.