Sabrina Bunar signs with UNC diving

Nov 30, 2017 by

Published in the November 29, 2017 edition

SABRINA BUNAR gets ready to sign her NLI to the UNC swimming and diving team. Front row from left is her dad, Michael, Sabrina, her mom Andrea and her sister Samantha. Back row from left is Principal Bob Cleary and Athletic Director Michael Bierwirth. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)


LYNNFIELD — If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a good enough competitive diver to earn a scholarship from the University of North Carolina, it helps to think of the usual suspects: hard work, dedication, commitment and athletic ability.

Keeping your composure during big diving meets is big too. But don’t forget traffic composure.

Just ask LHS senior diver Sabrina Bunar, who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to the UNC swimming and diving team. The six-time Junior Olympic diving National Championship Qualifier drives from Lynnfield to Cambridge five days a week to train with Agnes Miller of Charles River Diving. Sometimes the drive alone can take up to an hour, and that’s before the real hard work begins.

“Training usually consists of two hours in the water and weight training three times a week,” said Bunar, who has been diving since she was 8 years old and diving competitively for Charles River Diving for seven years. Talk about commitment.

“We feel like she’s been rewarded for all her hard work over the last 10 plus years,” said Sabrina’s father, Michael. “There has been a lot of travel, a lot of hours at the pool and dry land training so she’s put in a ton of time and sacrificed a lot of things along the way. She’ dedicated and put in the hard work and this is her pay off for that.”

Some of Bunar’s many diving accomplishments include a Massachusetts State Diving championship in 2015 when she set a new meet record, a three-year CAL diving champion, a seven-year member of USA Diving and a regular on the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Team for the first three years of her high school career.

When it came time to choose a school, Bunar certainly had her pick, and decided between two of the country’s best diving programs in Texas and UNC. In the end, UNC ended up being the best fit.

“Everything seemed perfect at UNC,” said Bunar. “I made a list of pros and cons and the pros completely outweighed the cons. The academics, the team, the coaches, everything.”

The traveling to other campuses across the country in the always-competitive ACC conference is another reason why the Tar Heels landed Bunar. If she can handle Route 93 during rush hour for five days a week, a flight to Hawaii will be a piece of cake.

“We will do a team trip in the winter to Hawaii, training for a week,” said Bunar. “The meets will take us everywhere and I think that will be cool especially because I know people from other schools that I will be competing against.”

“She was down in Texas during the summer to train and I know her parents have brought her up and down the east coast for events over the years as well, so they’re used to it,” added LHS athletic director Michael Bierwirth. “The result is she’s heading to a top-notch school.”

The dedication from Bunar and her parents, who must have jumped for joy just a little bit once Sabrina was old enough to get her license, has been complimented by excellent teachers and administration members at LHS who have helped Bunar maintain grades on the High Honors List throughout her academic career. In fact, her academics is probably the only thing that Bunar hasn’t sacrificed for diving, as she has excelled while facing a taxing workload littered with AP and Honors classes.

“It’s definitely challenging,” said Bunar of balancing schoolwork and training. “But the teachers are absolutely amazing here and so accommodating,” 

“We can’t say enough about the high school,” said her mother, Andrea. “Her teachers and the administration have worked so well with her.”

Bunar is quick to credit the support of her swimming and diving teammates/classmates, who have helped push her in the pool and the classroom. The result is a balanced, important member of the LHS community.

“Sabrina is first and foremost a great kid,” said Bierwirth. “She’s a great student and active in the community. I’m very proud.”

One of Bunar’s secrets to maintaining her focus in between dives during meets is music.

“I like to put on my headphones and find a quiet area to zone out and take a couple of deep breaths,” said the future Tar Heel. “I try not to think about diving during those moments.”

She admits that last part is hard to do. After all, look at where her passion and dedication for diving has brought her so far. You can bet the Lynnfield community is excited to see where it takes her next.

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