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Lauren Karatanevski

Lauren Elise Karatanevski, this month’s Macedonian of the Month, was born July 7, 1984 in Toronto. She is a one-meter and three-meter nationally ranked diver who is looking forward to representing her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

For 9 years prior to becoming a diver, she was an elite gymnast. However, her career was cut short due to elbow surgery. After the surgery and rehab, Lauren still had a burning desire to compete. Her Mom, Debbie, suggested she try diving. Diving is similar to gymnastics in that both sports required the same acrobatic manoeuvres, which made the transition much easier. In fact, Lauren found the transition so easy that in 2002, after only a few years of training, she became the Ontario Provincial Champion in both the one-meter and three-meter springboard. That same year she finished third in Canada in the nationals on the three-meter springboard. The following year Lauren moved from junior competition to the open senior level where she finished seventh at the 2003 Canadian Senior Nationals on one-meter springboard.
Lauren currently competes in the high-powered and very competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). At the 2003-2004 conference championships (her freshman year in school) she was the top finisher at the University of Northern Carolina, placing seventh on the one-meter board and ninth on the three-meter board. By 2004-2005, she was ranked No. 1 on the UNC depth-chart. Her third year in school saw her take a top-ten spot in the ACC Conference Championships, placing 8th on the one-meter board.

Her sights are now firmly set on the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where she hopes to represent Macedonia. The Canadian Macedonian Olympic Club has been busy fundraising in order to help cover the costs for the potential Olympian.

Sports have always been big part of her family; her mother received her honours specialist degree in physical health education; her father played semi-professional soccer; and her sister Katleyn, was a gymnast and later a figure skater.

She trains over 20 hours a week. Training in the water 6 days a week for 2.5 hours a day, three days a week she has strength and conditioning for 1 hour with her weight coach, plus additional individual training to keep in shape. Before she attended the University of North Carolina, she competed across Canada, the United States and Cuba. Now she is in college, she travels across the United States competing against other teams in her division.

Lauren graduated in June 2003 from Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. She was a magnificent all-around athlete at the high school and club team level, competing in swimming for five years, gymnastics for nine years, volleyball for five years, diving seven years and synchronized swimming two years. She served as captain of her high school swimming and volleyball teams and her club diving team, she was a member of the city championship swimming team and won the Lawrence Park sportsmanship award for outstanding leadership and participation in student athletic programs. She won the Elizabeth L. Grier Award for most outstanding student in the 11th grade, and the Hanne-Maria Maijala Award for academic honours, sportsmanship and leadership. She won an award as most outstanding female student in grade 13, and received the highest marks for French honours proficiency award, and earned an honours bilingual certificate during her final year.

She says, “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to achieve your athletic goals. However, it isn’t just athletics that gets you to the point that I am experiencing right now in my diving career. Scholarships are awarded to the most outstanding Student-Athlete. An education is equally as important as pursuing a career in any sport. I was awarded a scholarship based on my athletic ability, but am using this scholarship to further myself academically in pursuit of a professional career.”

“If I were to offer any advice to aspiring athletes, it would be to set your standards high and never give up on achieving your goals. There are many opportunities when it comes to sports (sport scholarships and professional sport careers) and each of those is attainable if you are determined and confident in your abilities. Never give up on your dreams!”


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