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Mention Jing’s name to anyone who knows her and they will literally start beaming. She has this effect on everyone who has the pleasure of meeting her. Maybe it’s her contagious smile? Or her ability to laugh so genuinely? It probably has something to do with the fact that she will listen so intently to anything you’re saying whether it’s serious or meaningless—if it’s important to you, it’s important to her.
Jing, with all her laughter and compassion, has been one of the greatest additions to the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team (HWSD). She has selflessly dedicated time and energy to this team, offering support to anyone feeling overwhelmed and advice to those of us who needed it (even when we didn’t know that we did). Early on Saturday mornings, before the majority of the student body was awake, Jing would bounce into practice with a contagious energy that inspired all of us, swimmers and divers alike, to follow her lead in challenging ourselves with a productive practice. It’s one thing to be up and active…. It’s another thing to be smashing out your 3m list at 7am—trust me. As a freshman, Jing entered as one of the top divers on the team. She always, however, strived to become stronger, to jump higher and enter cleaner into the water (if that is even possible).
And when it comes to Jing’s performance—well her achievements speak for themselves. She finished in the final for every event, at every Ivy League championship meet and was awarded the lifetime highest scoring diver. This is all as a springboard diver, something she hesitated to label herself as, since in high school she dove platform (the 10m high concrete board). The transition to springboard in college was challenging but Jing’s diligence and determination made it possible. And despite the fact that Harvard does not have a 10m high platform, Jing defied expectations and competed at NCAAs every year of her college career in the platform event, which she qualified for after practicing her list two to three times that year. And if that weren’t impressive enough, she finished her sophomore year placing eighth in the country, ironically becoming a true All American. But beyond the awards, and the medals, and the achievements, Jing was the most graceful diver to watch. She was so intentional with every single aspect of each dive and managed to finish them with such finesse—it has been a joy to watch her dive for the past four (or more like six) years.
And more important than her ability to dive, Jing has contributed to this team most by dedicating her heart and soul to it.
And more important than her ability to dive, Jing has contributed to this team most by dedicating her heart and soul to it. I think back to the nervous and unsure freshman that she was and I have to laugh. Over the course of four years Jing has become an integral part of HWSD, as demonstrated by her being elected as co-captain her senior year. No matter what she was dealing with in her own life, she was always present at the pool and ready to give all she had to practice. She was the loudest cheerer and the most selfless competitor, making sure her teammates were comfortable and ready before preparing herself - she taught us all how to be better teammates to each other. There will always be a special space in the heart of HWSD for Jing—we will never forget how much she gave to us and how different we all are for having known her.
I don’t know if there is anyone with quite the same style of humor as Jing or someone with such a keen insight into the wonders of life (think cucumbers and dominoes), but I do know that everyone should be so lucky as to have someone like Jing on their side. It has been such an honor to be your teammate Jing and I am so grateful that I got to navigate the American way of life with you by my side. Thank you for everything that you ever gave to this team and don’t forget us as you go out into the real world and save the planet. And wherever you end up, whatever you find yourself doing, we will always be there, cheering you on.
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