Jul 26 You Asked, Kristian Answered

By Brandon Penny | July 26, 2013, 11:30 a.m. (ET)

Kristian Ipsen visits the USA House at the Royal College of Art on
Aug. 3, 2012 in London, England.

Kristian Ipsen is like any other sophomore student at Stanford University — he goes to class, lives in the dorms and eats in the dining hall. Only, Ipsen probably works out a bit more than many of his classmates.

In addition to going to school full-time, Ipsen is a world-class diver who earned a bronze medal in 3-meter synchro at the London 2012 Olympic Games with partner Troy Dumais. It marked the first time a U.S. team has medaled in that event in the Olympic Games. Ipsen then began his sophomore year of college a few weeks later.

 Since then, Ipsen has set NCAA and school records, and he is now beginning his road toward the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. The first big competition, the 15th FINA World Championships, is going on now in Barcelona, Spain.

Ipsen spoke to TeamUSA.org from Barcelona, answering questions submitted by fans on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Sarah H. on Facebook asks: Are you single?

(laughs) Yeah, I am single right now. I like that that’s what we’re starting with.

Sarah E. on Facebook asks: What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is green.

Andrea S. on Facebook asks: How have you worked through the tough times when you wanted to quit or had trouble mastering a skill?

That’s a good question. I think it’s really tough when it comes to that because it’s a fine motor skills sport so there’s lots of things going on, and it’s tough because there’s always things in your dive that aren’t perfect and there’s always thing that can make it better. That challenge is what I like most about the sport, but it does get incredibly, incredibly frustrating if something isn’t working. But I think for divers wanting to know what to do — it’s helpful to not get too, too frustrated because if you get that frustrated then you can’t make positive changes. You might need to move on to another skill and then come back to that later.

Wil S. on Facebook asks: How does diving in the U.S. differ from diving at an international event? Is there one that makes you more nervous than the other?

Kristian Ipsen competes in the men's 3-meter springboard diving at
the 15th FINA World Championships at Piscina Municipal de Montjuic
on July 25, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.

I don’t know if there’s one that makes me more nervous than the other. They’re actually pretty similar, at least for me, because I’ve been diving on the international circuit, especially in junior, since I was 13 years old, so I’ve seen the same people over and over for the past seven years. It’s the same in the U.S. Diving’s such a small sport so you go to all these meets and you see people over and over. I think, for a lot of us, we know what we’re going into, especially in international competitions, and we know who our competitors are going to be. It’s just the competition isn’t going to be in the United States. It might be somewhere cool like Barcelona.

2012 wrestling world champion @AdelineGray on Twitter asks: Have you tried the chocolate and churros yet? #doit

(laughs) I love that. I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, so I’ve had some chocolate and I’ve been sneaking Nutella packets to the pool. Especially after I’m done competing, I’m going to have a lot of sweets here.

Albert C. on Facebook asks: Do you get fully funded, or are you like other athletes who are struggling and on food stamps?

I get a stipend from the USOC, but I can’t take any prize money because I’m still an NCAA athlete. The money that I get is supposed to go toward things for my sport: diving or athletic gear, whatever that might be. In high school, I worked at my dad’s restaurant. He had pizza restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. I would be a busboy and do little jobs like that. But right now I don’t have a job. School at Stanford is enough of a job.

Kathy T. on Facebook asks: What inspired you as a young boy to take this path?

I played a ton of different sports up until I was a freshman in high school, but then after I went to my first Olympic Trials in 2008 I realized diving was my best shot, not only for the Olympics but I was just trying to get into a good college. I had always wanted to go to Stanford since I was really young and diving was by far my best shot out of any of the other sports. I wasn’t going to play basketball at 5-foot-7. I just decided after (the 2008 Olympic Trials) that I would only do diving and really take it seriously and put all my efforts into that.

July Y-R. on Facebook asks: How many hours of sleep do you get? How many times a day do you eat? How often do you work out?

During the school year, I’ll get probably about six hours of sleep. I would like to get more, but that’s all I can really get, especially living in the dorms at school. There’s always a lot going on, and I have a lot of homework and stuff, and I’m busy all day practicing. But in the summer I try to average about eight hours because I think that’s good for training and sleep is really important for having the energy to do really hard practices. Next one — how many times a day do I eat? I always try to have breakfast, then I’ll usually have a morning practice and then I’ll have some form of a snack afterwards because I think it’s important to have a little snack after and refuel your body, and then I’ll have lunch after I have my classes and then I’ll go straight to practice and have a little snack after that and then I’ll have dinner later. I try to eat a little bit throughout the day. For my practices — it depends on the day, but usually I’ll have two water workouts, which will be around two hours, and then sometimes a weight workout or a conditioning workout. That’s what I do in the summer when I don’t have school.

Troy Dumais (top) and Kristian Ipsen (bottom) compete in the
men's 3-meter synchronized springboard final at the London 2012
Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on Aug.1, 2012.

Rachel G. on Facebook asks: What is your advice for young athletes?

I think it’s important for them to make sure they’re in the sport for the right reason. For me, I had always loved diving and that’s why I did it. There were no other reasons — I loved competing, I love flipping, the adrenaline rush, the whole thing. I think it’s really important for kids to make sure they love the sport that they’re doing, especially when it’s a sport like diving and it’s a huge time commitment.

Rachel G. on Facebook asks: What is your favorite movie?

I love “Zoolander” and I love “Bridesmaids.” Those are probably my two favorite movies.

Jessica S. on Facebook asks: What was it like to dive with Troy Dumais at the Olympic Games and win a medal?

It was an awesome experience. It wasn’t something that I expected. It being my first Olympics, I just wanted to go in and have a good time. I was only diving in one event, and I was only competing there for 15 minutes, so I wanted to make the most of the whole contest and enjoy every minute and soak everything in. Troy and I both had that same mindset going into it. We both wanted to have fun and enjoy that experience, and because of that I think we did well; we were relaxed and had a good time. Diving with him is amazing. I learned a lot from him. He’s such an amazing diver, so it was good diving next to him every day and trying to pick up a lot of his techniques.

Angela H. on Facebook asks: I have an 8-year-old son who just started diving. He wants to be a world champion. As a mother, I want to encourage him but not push him. How do you feel parents should keep a healthy balance?

That’s a good question. My parents did not put pressure on me at all. I put a lot of pressure on myself for everything that I do; I’m super driven and motivated. I think it needs to come from the athlete. If all the pressure is coming from the parents and there’s no pressure on the athlete from the athlete, then that’s when it’s a problem. But I think a healthy amount of pressure is fine, and wanting your kid to succeed is totally normal, but I think there’s definitely a fine line of how much parents can push their kids in sports.

Tom W. on Facebook asks: Do you get a sports massage on a regular basis? If so, how often, and is it pre-event, post-event or maintenance?

When I’m training really hard and doing weights and stuff, I try to get a massage either once a week or twice a week. It’s for maintenance, and it’s also to make sure your muscles don’t get tired towards the end of the week because I want to make sure that my body is feeling as good as it can possibly feel for all of my practices so that practice isn’t a waste. Sometimes if I have a really heavy weight workout and I don’t get a massage, my next practice the whole next day might be shot. I think all recovery techniques are really important.

TeamUSA.org asks: What would fans be surprised to learn about you?

My dad named a pizza in his restaurant after my middle name (Bettega). It’s one of the most purchased pizzas at his restaurant, so I’m famous at his restaurant.

What is on that pizza?

It’s a white sauce pizza, and there’s garlic, chicken, red peppers. It’s really good.

Did you get to choose what’s on it?

No, he just did it for me. Thank god it’s good!

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