Laura Wilkinson - Early Years
Wilkinson did not start diving competitively until she was 16, but she had some background in aerial acrobatics already: she had been a competitive gymnast until she was 13. (In the intervening years she stayed active, playing tennis, softball, and track and field.) She first made the U.S. national diving team in 1995, while still in high school, and that year she also won her first national competition, in synchronized platform diving.
In 1996 Wilkinson began attending the University of Texas and diving for their team. She became one of the strongest divers in the United States, winning more championships in synchronized platform and in her specialty, solo platform diving, as well as in the 3-meter springboard.