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Good Sports: Diving Boards and Box Office


By Paul Feinberg '85

Published Jan 1, 2011 10:04 AM

UCLA diver Karina Silva had a big summer, returning to her native Spain where she won both the Platform and the 3M synchronized competitions and qualified for the Madrid Grand Prix and the European Championships.


Karina Silva competes at the 2010 Bruin Diving Invite at Spieker Aquatics Center. Photo by Don Liebig of UCLA Photography.

But she'd rather talk about Woody Allen.

Because while Silva holds the UCLA school record with dreams of representing Spain in the 2012 Olympics in London, it's a love of film and her favorite director that really excites her and led her to UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television.

"I started looking where that passion could take me [and considered] NYU, USC and UCLA," she explains. "I picked UCLA because of the coaching and the film school. Those two things were just perfect, and they still are." Silva has since been accepted as one of 30 new students in the Film and Television Studies major, out of more than 700 applicants.

Silva's nearly nonchalant when discussing diving, casually explaining that her head passes within a few inches of the concrete, 10-meter platform when she does 3 1/2 somersaults in the inward direction before entering the water, or about the time she bruised her lungs and coughed up blood after missing badly on a dive. But she lights up when name-dropping her favorite cinematographers, like Gordon Willis, who worked with Allen, and fellow Bruin Francis Ford Coppola M.F.A. '67. She also savors the relationship between diving and filmmaking.

"My diving is — I would have to say — very pretty, elegant," Silva says, a self-described "old soul" who favors listening to another Bruin film student named Jim Morrison '65. "I'm not too fast, I'm not too strong, but I look good in the air. It's my touch that I give it. In film, what they're teaching us is that style is everything. When my films come out, I'm sure you'll be able to see that."