Sense of Community, Family Have Made Nevada Home for Charlton
Nov. 23, 2011
Watch her dive and you would think Melyssa Charlton has been doing this her entire life. Ask her, and you would find out she has only been doing this for five years.
“I was a gymnast for 13 years, but yes, I have only been diving since I was 16,” she said.
After more than a decade on the mat took its toll on her body via one injury or another, Charlton wanted to move to a sport with less physical impact. A week after she made this known to her mother, Charlton was diving. Two years later, she was doing so at Nevada.
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Charlton was raised in a family of athletes. She fights through the mental strain of a rigorous schedule because that is what she has always done. The reward of nailing the dive she is working on in competition still drives her, well into her final season as a member of the Wolf Pack.
“Being an athlete is mentally and physically challenging,” she said. “Sometimes, I base my entire day around one dive, from the way I eat to the way I sleep.”
That daily grind will come to an end in the coming months, and as Charlton begins to consider it, she is appreciative of her time at Nevada.
“I am amazed at the sense of community here, the way this place feels,” she said.
She spoke about her teammates always being there for her, about the second family she has made so far away from home.
When she did, she thought hard, trying to place the feeling that comes as she realized something that has meant so much to her is closer to the end than it is to the beginning.
“Moving to a different country and diving here has shaped who I am as a person,” she said. “All the ups and downs, the aspect of community that this place has, those things have made the last few years incredible.”
Her teammates made signs and an oversized good luck card for her and her fellow divers before their most recent trip to the Wildcat Diving Invitational. Their friendship has been a part of that sense of community and family for Charlton, and has been one of the reasons she has thrived so far from Vancouver.
When her time at Nevada comes to an end Charlton will most likely return to Canada and Davidson & Co., the accounting firm she worked at last summer. In what is no surprise to those close to her, Charlton plans on becoming a chartered accountant in her native country. That honor will only become a reality after three more years of academic study.
On pace to graduate in four years, Charlton has maintained a 3.58 GPA as an accounting major at Nevada.
“I think about it every day,” she said about her post-graduation plans.
What makes Charlton special is that she does more than simply think about it, she continues to be a leader in and out of the pool as a member of the Wolf Pack. She interns during the summer in her desired career field. She keeps working, day in and day out, to be the best student-athlete she can.
If the next few years of her life are anything like the past few have been, the rest should take care of itself.