From Fire to Water
By Kelly Broderick on October 19, 2016

TEMPE-When you mix fire and water the flame will extinguish, but when you mix fire and water at McClintock High School, you get Jacob Hoo.

Senior diver and part-time welder Jacob Hoo was born in Palo Alto, California, and lived approximately 20 miles south of there in San Jose until the age of 5, where he then trekked east to Arizona. Now, a senior finishing off his career at McClintock High School in Tempe, Hoo is the star diver of the Charger swim and dive team.

Hoo got into swimming almost immediately after he had moved to Tempe. “I got into diving when I was 6 years old, and my sister was taking swimming lessons during the summer,” Hoo said. His parents had told him that he needed to take a class at the same time as his sister but he did not want to take swimming lessons. “The only other option was diving and I thought that would be something interesting to try,” Hoo continued.

Hoo has returned to the Chargers for his final year, after coming off an satisfying 2016 season where he received an honorable mention in the All-Tribune Boys Swim and Dive Teams. He has done exceptionally well over his eight-year diving career. In 2014 he was a finalist in the Arizona High School State Division 1 Diving Championship and placed second in the Tempe All-City Meet. In the past season, he finished fifth in the Arizona High School State Division 1 Diving Championship.

One of Hoo’s most important meets was when he competed at the Western Nationals meet in Oklahoma. “My first nationals meet was in 2011 and I qualified in the 11 and under for 1-meter,” Hoo said. “This was the first time I had ever been to an out of state meet and I was able to see 16-18 year old's throwing dives I did not even know were possible.” This was when he realized that he wanted to compete with the best and that diving was much more than a hobby. “I realized I could make a career out of being a diver,” he said.

Hoo has not only excelled on the boards, but in the classroom as well. Hoo skipped sixth grade to attend the Herberger Academy at ASU West and began high school a year early at the age of 13. Despite this, he has been able to do well in prioritizing projects and homework around diving. He hopes to go into chemical engineering, which is why it has been difficult for him to find a diving program with an equally good chemical engineering program. “I have always wanted to understand how the world works, and this major gives me the opportunity to make new chemicals and change the way the world works,” Hoo said. “I want to be able to help design new chemicals which will make lives better for people.”

Along with his studies and sports, Hoo enjoys an interesting hobby that that some would not assume would go along well with an athlete that spends five to six days of the week in the water. That hobby? Welding. Hoo got into welding at his mother’s barn. It all started with taking a class on the skill and making of a candle holder. Now, he helps out at the barn by welding fences.

But no worries for the Chargers, Jacob will not be using the torch forever. Hoo’s all-in on his diving career. “It is the one place I feel completely happy,” Hoo said. “Win or lose, good or bad, it is all on me.”

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