Students take leap of faith at Werblin Recreation Center's annual Tower Jump
Students had the chance to face their fears one dive at a time this past Friday at the annual "Tower Jump" at the Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus.
Normally hosted in the beginning of April, the event allows students to take a chance jumping off of one of the three diving platforms in the Rutgers Aquatic Center, according to the Student Affairs site.
Elizabeth Yarus, the aquatics coordinator, said they invite students once a year to jump off the different levels of towers. Working their way up from the 5-meter to the 7-meter then the 10-meter it is an opportunity that students do not usually get, to overcome their fears and have a good time.
Yarus inherited the event two years ago when she first became aquatics coordinator and said students are generally hesitant but excited when approaching the jump. They are excited to overcome their fears and it exhilarates them when they are able to complete the jump.
“Occasionally we’ve had people require a lot of extra encouragement to make the jump and some only do one or two stations, but most people know they’re here and know they might not get that opportunity again,” she said.
Each student starts at the 1-meter platform in order to practice jumping in the straight body position, Yarus said. From there, students line up and progress through the various heights leading up to the 10-meter platform.
Fred Woodruff, head diving coach for the women's swimming and diving team and event organizer, said it was very exciting to the watch the event progress over time. While the first year only had roughly 20 students, more than 80 students came the following year after hearing about the event through friends.
The event took place at the Rutgers Aquatic Center, equipped with an Olympic-sized swimming pool measuring 50 by 25 meters long with a 17-foot diving well and a 10-meter diving tower, according to the school’s site.
It has become a very popular, and he tries to promote the event as best he can so students are able to come out and challenge themselves and try something new, he said.
A lot of times students look at the diving platforms without being able to use them and this event serves as a treat once a year, he said.
“Most students are pretty excited that they made the jump and met the challenge to do something they never did before. It’s really exciting for them so we hope to continue the event for years to come,” he said.
Prior to his jump, Andrew Nelson, a School of Engineering senior, said he was excited to take part in the event. As a senior, it was his last chance to take the plunge and something he looked forward to for a while. Without a fear of heights, he was confident in his abilities and had previous experience cliff diving a depth similar to that of the 7-meter platform.
“It was fun, I felt like I was in the air for a really long time. I worked my way up from the (5-meter), to the 7, then the 10-(meter) lastly. I’d definitely do it again given the opportunity,” he said.
Matthew Peacock, a Rutgers Business School senior, said he had been cliff diving before but did not expect this jump to be nearly double the height. Going in, he said he knew he was not going to let the opportunity pass and insisted on making it all the way to the top.
Just go for it, Peacock said. He said it is much safer than cliff diving since students are in a controlled environment with lifeguards and staff constantly monitoring the water.
“It’s a lot higher than I thought it was looking up underneath the platform," he said. "It felt good, I’m a senior and it’s something I had to do before I graduated so I brought five of my friends out here with me for a good experience."
Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.