As the daughter of respected diving coaches, Cassidy Krug has taken thousands of plunges into pools since early childhood.
None will be bigger than the next 15.
The Stanford alum hopes to make her Olympic debut by stringing together an impressive array of aerial flips and twists at the U.S. trials that begin Tuesday in Federal Way, Wash., with preliminaries and semifinals.
It's not a short tube ride to the London Games for an 11-time national champion. The 3-meter springboard is one of the trials' most hotly contested events. Five women, including 2008 Olympians Kelci Bryant and Christina Loukas, have won national titles.
Krug needs 10 mistake-free dives Tuesday and five in Saturday's final. All 15 jumps count equally when determining the two Olympic berths.
"That's the point of trials," said Krug, who is focusing on the one event despite performing well in synchronized diving. "You want it to be a contest. We'll send a strong team either way."
U.S. diving officials hope to see a resurrection in London after a long Olympic dry spell. The United States has been overshadowed by China, which has won 21 of 27 events in the past four Summer Games. Olympic champion Laura Wilkinson won America's last medal 12 years ago in Sydney.
But the United States had its best showing in almost 20 years at the 2009 world championships by winning four silver medals.
The 5-foot-4 Krug wasn't in the mix, having returned that year
"Then I really missed it," said Krug, 26. "I missed the feeling of diving."
She got a part-time job at the Stanford Alumni Association and rejoined Cardinal coach Rick Schavone to climb back to the top of the sport. Krug won two NCAA titles under Schavone after coming to Stanford nine years ago.
Choosing to attend Stanford was not an easy decision. Julian Krug, not surprisingly, wanted his daughter to compete at Pittsburgh, where he coaches. A San Jose native, Julian Krug is the first person to execute a 51/2 front somersault dive from 10 meters.
He and wife Dorothy also coach at the Pittsburgh Aquatics Club and are so immersed with their sport that they will work as researchers for NBC Sports during the diving trials.
Ultimately, the Krugs considered their daughter's needs first.
"I felt like Cassidy should go away," Dorothy said. "To stay at home and to be coached by your parent -- that's not enough space to grow."
Although they brought Cassidy to the pool since she was an infant, the parents didn't pressureher into taking the big leap off a springy, aluminum platform suspended above the water. Her brother Kyle doesn't dive.
"It's like they read the athletic parenting book -- the good one," Krug said.
They enrolled her in pottery classes and took Cassidy to the theater. Krug also began tumbling at age 3 and for the next dozen years focused on becoming a level 10 gymnast -- the highest ranking in the sport.
She also competed in Junior Olympics in diving. At 15, Krug spent the summer rotating from pool to gym. Something had to give. She advanced to the level 10 national meet and then switched to diving full time.
"I did all the tricks that I wanted to do, and then I quit," Krug said.
Now she's prepared to leave diving behind. That could happen as soon as the weekend if Krug fails to qualify for London. She is considering returning to school for a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing after earning a degree in creative writing in 2007.
But the rest of her life is a blank page until she completes the next 15 dives at the King County Aquatics Center.
"In a way, I'm playing the same game as I was when I was 6," Krug said. "I'm really lucky to still be playing it."
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/elliottalmond.