What AAU Diving means to us:
My name is Marra Francis, and I am 40 years old. My daughter, Avery Francis, is 9 and the eldest of my 3 girls. To say our relationship is strained at times is an understatement – she is my button pusher, my manipulator, by rule bender, and my limits pusher…I am sure if my mother were alive she would say that she is just like I was at her age! Avery is also one of my greatest sources of joy.
We lived in The Woodlands, TX since she was born and moved to San Antonio in 2012. She dove since she was 5 in The Woodlands and she started because her friend was diving and it “sounded like fun” to her. She knew I dove, but had no idea what that really meant, what her mom had accomplished in the sport of diving, or how diving changed my entire college experience and defined much of who I was during those four years. I was so excited that she may experience and love the sport of diving as much as I did!
When we moved and had to find a new team, Avery had asked me if I would please dive with her because she didn’t know anyone on the team. I was floored – was this my Avery who usually tries to avoid extra time with me for fear I will “parent” her?!?! At the time I was 39 and had not been diving since I was 21, and I had since undergone double mastectomies and was not sure what strength I would have left in my upper body. But, when your daughter asks you to do something with her, any parent would jump at the chance. I was also blessed to have a new path in my career in Medicine and a supportive husband, both of which allowed me to have the extra time to spend with my kids.
I was so happy to learn that AAU Diving would let a “master’s” diver join in the age group diving lessons…I was able to dive with my daughter and build bridges in our relationship. Our coach, Stan Randall, welcomed us with open arms and high expectations. All of the other coaches at AAU Diving have been equally as welcoming and supportive over the past 10 months since we started.
I am so grateful that the sport of diving and the AAAD Team has forged a new kind of relationship between me and my daughter, Avery. I get to watch her grow as a diver and as a person and she gets to see her mom try, fail, and try again – the true meaning of “leading by example”. I am also so grateful to the other dive families and their little divers…I am inspired by their fearless children and am blessed to be able to comfort and encourage them on the boards as they face their own challenges and rejoice with them in their accomplishments. I can’t say “Thank you” enough to my husband, the AAU Diving Coaching Staff, the AAU Diving families, and all the divers for giving me one of my most cherished experiences of my entire life.
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