Alexandra Croak ready to dive into her work at the 2006 Commonwealth Games which start in Melbourne tomorrow.
Alexandra Croak ready to dive into her work at the 2006 Commonwealth Games which start in Melbourne tomorrow.

Search for perfection

By STEVE SPINKS in Melbourne

DROP two objects from a height and usually the heaviest object will hit the ground first.

Apparently, it ?s something to do with physics.

But defying the natural laws of physics is part and parcel of diving in the 10 metre synchronized platform event, according to Coffs Harbour diver, Alexandra Croak.

Croak, whose father Mike still lives in Coffs, is partnered with the diminutive Melissa Wu in the synchronized platform at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games ? and therein lies the problem.

Wu weighs in at the 'massive' total of 27kg while Croak is a comparative heavyweight at 54kg.

"It doesn't really matter about weight," the 21-year-old chuckled. "I'll be fine diving with her (Wu).

"It more depends on the timing of the take off anyway. You have to take off at the right time.

"We have very similar techniques anyway so that makes it easier."

Croak, who lives and studies in Sydney, is not heading to Melbourne for the opening ceremony at the MCG tonight.

Instead, she and her diving team-mates flew to Brisbane on Sunday to seek seclusion while refining their routines prior to competition starting on March 22.

It won't be the first time Croak has missed a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Four years ago the former Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder missed marching with the Aussie team at Manchester.

At that stage she was one of Australia's best gymnasts and she went on to win gold in the team event, silver in the vault and fourth in the uneven bars.

Following numerous battles with injury, Croak retired from gymnastics but found she still had a burning desire to compete in sport an elite level.

She stumbled upon diving and after only two years in the sport has forced her way onto the Aussie team with the likes of Olympic champion Chantelle Newbery and Olympic medalist Loudy Tourky.

While she's the first woman to ever make consecutive Commonwealth Games in different sports, the fact she's only been diving off the 10m platform for 12 months is probably an even more impressive statistic.

And while there are similarities between diving and gymnastics, there's one very big difference.

In gymnastics you land feet first, in diving you lead with your head.

"I still get scared up there," Croak laughed.

"It's very intimidating.

But don't think Croak is an adrenalin junky.

It ?s the pursuit of performing that perfect dive that drives her.

"I'm more into personal satisfaction than just trying to beat everyone," the rookie diver said.

"It's that search for perfection.

And that's not easy when you're trying to defy the laws of physics.



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