Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Van Zitter conquers the pool, ocean and dance floor

Stephanie Romero/TM
Freshman diver Maleno Van Zitter practices before her next meet. Van Zitter also swims in the California Science Center.

Freshman Maleno Van Zitter represents Cerritos College in the pool, on the stage and in the ocean.

Not only is Van Zitter a member of the diving team, but she also dances in the school Dance Department events.

 One thing that many students might not be aware of is that she also works on a shark boat to gain experience for a future in filming sharks, along with a job at the California Science Center.

“I like stepping out of my comfort zone. I do not like to do just one thing,” she said.

She does not get paid for working on the boat, but gains a network of friends who are in the shark-filming industry.

As a member of the ship’s crew, she is in the process of learning to drive the boat, as well as cook meals and clean.

Van Zitter has been fascinated with aquatic life since the age of 13 and says she will begin filming sharks soon.

On the boat, she met a friend that helped her get a job at the California Science Center in Los Angeles where she has worked for over a year.

The CSC is a free, hands-on museum, with numerous exhibits, for the youth, ran by the goverment.

Some of her duties at the CSC consist of cleaning the fish tanks, feeding fish and diving for underwater presentations, where people get to see animals and divers interacting.

“What is really funny in the aquarium is that you have all these really cool fish and yet,the most interesting thing to the kids is the scuba diver. It is so funny because it is just a person,” she said.

“We have different types of fish from California (at the CSC), such as Black Sea Bass, White Sea Bass, eels, Leopard Sharks and Horned Sharks. It is a really cool exhibit,” she said.

Even with experience from working in the water, the transition for the diver from diving for fun and diving for sport, in her words,”has not been good.”

The freshman diver is currently in her first season as a member of the Cerritos College Dive team.

“My boyfriend did the sport the last two years. He told me to try it and I did.”

She did not compete in swimming during high school because there was not a team.

Even though Van Zitter is completely new to the sport, her experience in gymnastics  during high school helped her with adapting.

One of Van Zitter’s teammates is freshman Johnny Morales.

 “She is always on top of things. From what I have heard, she is always at school, all day, and she doesn’t seem to be stressed at all,” he said.

“She has improved tenfold from when she started.”

Freshman Scott Robles, said “[She is] a good-spirited hard worker.”

Along with athletics, she is also involved in the spring 2011 Dance Department.

Last year, she was invited by the chair of the Dance Department, Janet Sanderson, to do a piece that was performed at Boston University.

Out of the 45 schools, Cerritos College and two other schools were chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. along with 27 other schools that were chosen from elsewhere.

Van Zitter said, “That was a really amazing opportunity for me and I got to perform in front of amazing dancers, choreographers and teachers. I also got to take classes from teachers that I would only dream of.”

Trying new things has always been easy for her because of the support from her family.

Van Zitter still says that her true passion is being in the water and diving, whether it is for sport or for experience in her future career in underwater filming.   

Right now, she is content with inspiring children who go to the CSC and hopes to make an impact in their lives. 

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Van Zitter conquers the pool, ocean and dance floor