Transitioning to a new level in any sport is generally considered to be a tough task, but some have the level of work ethic and preparation necessary to make that move as smooth as possible.
For Mia Teifer, a Trenton native and 2016 graduate of Saint Mary Catholic Central High School in Monroe, her move from the high school ranks to the collegiate level could not have gone any better from an individual standpoint.
As a freshman at Wayne State University, Teifer finished in fourth in the one-meter diving event at the NCAA Championships and was named a First-Team All-American.
While she has already reached heights that most divers do not achieve throughout their entire career in college, Teifer’s experience in the pool begins where many within the Trenton community got their start: the Kennedy Pool.
“I started diving through a program at the Kennedy Pool. The swim club is really popular there, but I chose the diving club and I’ve been doing it since I was 11 years old,” Teifer said.
As her career at St. Mary Catholic Central progressed, Teifer began to realize her true talent at diving as she started to garner interest from programs around the country.
“When I was in my junior year I started to get letters and emails from different college coaches and I started to realize that I might be able to continue diving in college. It was a really exciting time for me.”
She eventually landed on Wayne State and though she had faith in her abilities, she wasn’t sure how much of an impact that she would be able to make during her freshman year.
“To be honest I didn’t think that my freshman year was going to go as well as it did. I was just going to see how it went, as a freshman you don’t usually have as much of a chance because you don’t have the experience of other swimmers and divers, so I was really pleased with the opportunity I had this year.”
Finishing in the top five of two different events at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships, Teifer was able to continue raising the bar as the season went on and found her highlight of the year at Nationals.
“The best part of this season for me was being able to make it through cut day for Nationals. Being able to make it through that kind of competition was really great for me.”
With the season that she had as a freshman, expectations are likely going to be heightened for Teifer going into next season. Despite the added pressure, she plans on keeping her head down throughout the summer and continuing to perfect her craft.
“I definitely want to continue to improve some aspects of my diving, but beyond that I know that we have a lot of freshman coming in and I want to help them. I think it will be important that I help them realize that if they work really hard throughout the season, they can compete at a high level.”
Teifer’s leadership abilities will be strengthened throughout the summer, as will other facets of her technique. Her coach from St. Mary Catholic Central, Sam Randazzo, continues to play a large role in her development.
“My coach since I started swimming, Sam Randazzo, has played a particularly big role in my development and I still practice with him every summer. Every time I’m having a mental block or I need help, he’s the person I go to.”
With Randazzo’s assistance, Teifer will look to take the next step in her career. A communications sciences and disorders major that hopes to be a speech language pathologist, Teifer credits the Trenton community for fostering her love of diving.
“Growing up in Trenton, the swimming and diving community is such a big part of anyone that has taken up the spot. There are so many people that have grown up doing it and have had the same experiences that it makes you part of a family.”
Still just at the outset of her career, Teifer looks to build on an All-American year and make her presence felt at the National Championship meet next season.