Chris Vonk

Mission Viejo Prepares for the Chris Vonk Invitational

While the USA Diving Winter Nationals are kicking off in Nashville, Tennessee, Mission Viejo is hosting the first big JO and Novice competitions of the season in California with the annual Chris Vonk Invitational. This diving competition is in memory of a wonderful young Nadador diver named Chris Vonk. He was talented, hard working, and always wore a smile on his face. Chris loved to surf and to dive—a true SoCal water-loving boy! He was a JO National Team member when the Nadadores took JO National Titles in both 1988 & 1989. Chris passed away far too early in life (1990, at age 16) when he was involved in a car accident while driving himself to practice. Chris’ golden blond hair, bright smile, and big blue eyes will always shine down on the Margeurite Aquatics Complex.

The Chris Vonk Invitational attracts many teams from the region, including a strong presence from Arizona diving programs, and as far away as teams traveling from Washington State. This year’s competition is broken up into two different weekends: the JO events will take place December first through the third, and the Novice events will take place December ninth and tenth. In total, around 200 divers will be competing throughout the two weekends at the MAC.

Liz Sanchez, the Nadadores’ Director of Developmental Diving Coach, is excited for a fun two weekends of diving as a great opportunity for all kids in the program. “The Chris Vonk Invitational is always a great meet for our kids,” she said. “It’s early in the competitive season and a wonderful opportunity for the JO and Novice programs to showcase some new dives and techniques we’ve been working on. For some Nadador divers, it will be their first competition ever.” 

John Appleman, the Nadadore’s High Performance Director, will unfortunately miss the event due to coaching at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in Knoxville, but he expressed his excitement as well for the event and for the community. “The Chris Vonk Invitational is a long standing tradition that brings together the diving community in early December,” Appleman said. “It’s fun meets like this that build bonds and create memories for our divers, and is a great community event for families and parents to get involved.” 

Tickets are available at the front gate of the Marguerite Aquatics Complex on event days, and you can also find all the event info and buy tickets online at