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Q&A with diver Jessica Parratto

Jessica Parratto
2012 NBCUniversal, Inc.

Q&A with diver Jessica Parratto

Jessica Parratto shares what it was like moving halfway across the country at age 17, her superstitions and her hobbies outside of training.

Tell us about your family.

I have an older sister, Melissa, who swam at the University of Pennsylvania. My dad, Mike, is a swim coach and coached Olympic gold medalist swimmer Jenny Thompson. My mom, Amy, was a five-time All-American diver at Wellesley College and was my first diving coach until the age of 14. My mom and dad currently both coach swimming at Riptide Swim Club in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

What's your earliest Olympic memory?

I remember watching Jenny Thompson in the 2000 Olympics. I mostly just remember my parents yelling at the TV during her races and celebrating after she won.

What's your earliest diving memory? What was it about diving that propelled you to dedicate your life to the sport?

The earliest memory I have was when I was 5 year old and I was playing around during my mom's diving practice. I got up on the board and she asked me what I was going to do and I remember saying "you'll see!" I did a front flip pike for the first time ever without her even teaching me!

I have a lot of home videos of my early days of diving. My mom was my coach growing up so she took tons of video. My favorite videos are when I was around 10 or 11 at my first regional meets. My mom would video my dives and her commentary in the background is priceless... Let's just say she was nervous!

Who's the most influential person in your diving career?

My mom would be the most instrumental in bringing along my athletic career. She was a diver and my diving coach from when I started diving (age 4 or 5) until I was 14 years old. My mom never pushed me into doing anything I didn't want to which really made me fall in love with the sport on my own terms. She always had a way of keeping it fun and motivating for me.

Can you tell us about your big move? It was pretty significant.

The biggest obstacle that I've overcome was moving from New Hampshire to Indiana. I not only had to move away from home and everything I knew but my family also had to change their lives for me as well. Without them I know I wouldn't be where I am today. It was a difficult transition but in the end it was the best thing I could have done and my family agrees.

What is your music of choice while training? Do you have a favorite go-to song that motivates you?

My favorite music to listen to while training is rap because it really pumps me up. My favorite go to song is The Fire by the Roots.

Some of my favorite artists to listen to currently are rappers Logic & G-Eazy

Who is your celebrity crush? Do you have an Olympic crush?

I've always had a crush on Harry Styles. My Olympic crush would probably be Nick Goepper.

Do you have a nickname? How did you get it?

My favorite nickname I've been called would probably be "Ari" because I'm obsessed with Ariana Grande so my teammate Josh started calling me that.

What's your hidden talent?

I'm good at massages where you walk on peoples backs.

How do you unwind after a competition?

Sleep, sleep and more sleep!

Do you like to travel? What's the most special place you've been to?

I love to travel. So far my favorite place I've traveled to would be Australia. It is absolutely beautiful there and I wouldn't mind living there myself!

What are some of your hobbies?

I love hiking and camping. I did a lot of it growing up in New Hampshire. I also enjoy going rock climbing with friends when I can. Cooking and baking is another one of my favorite things to do; I'm always looking up new recipes to try! And I love Pilates - one of my favorite ways to stay in shape!

Do you have a lucky charm that travels with you to competition?

I have to bring my stuffed animal polar bear named Alfalfa to competitions. I've had him since I was 5 years old and still bring him everywhere I go!

Do you have a pre competition ritual?

I like to have a big, carb-filled dinner the day before I compete and get to bed early. In the morning, I wake up early and take a hot shower to loosen up, then get on a stationary bike to warm up before leaving for the pool.

And I always have the same warm up routine everyday: I stretch out, get my tape on and get in the shower to warm up before I get in the water to practice, too. It mentally prepares me for each session.

Are you superstitious?

I always have to tie my shammy in a knot before I throw it down from the tower, both in practice and at competitions.

Do you prepare your own meals? What are some of your signature recipes?

I love cooking anything Italian or involving pasta. Lately I've been into making Crockpot meals. It's easy and ready to eat right after practice is over!

Can you admit what your worst habit is?

I'm really good at procrastinating and I take way too long to get ready for anything. Ask anyone I know - it's bad.

Q&As with divers of Team USA

Get to know the divers of Team USA:

David Boudia | Amy Cozad | Jessica Parratto | Steele Johnson | Kassidy Cook | Abby Johnston | Michael Hixon

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