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Northwestern Diver Makes History for Jamaica

Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson joined an Olympic diver on Jamaica’s first-ever synchronized diving team.

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Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson at the 2020 Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.Image: Walt Middleton

By Austin Siegel
Spring 2022

When Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson ’22 was a first-year student at Northwestern in 2018, he reached out via Instagram to pioneering Jamaican diver Yona Knight-Wisdom. 

Eskrick-Parkinson had been diving for Northwestern for just a few months when he learned that the two-time Olympian was competing at a meet in Eskrick-Parkinson’s hometown of Calgary, Alberta. 

“I told Yona, ‘Hope you liked my home pool,’ and from there we chatted about diving,” says Eskrick-Parkinson, who is half-Jamaican and aspired to represent his father’s home country in international competitions. “I didn’t have my [Jamaican] citizenship yet, but we decided to keep in touch.” 

Eskrick-Parkinson kept diving and broke the 1-meter and 3-meter school records at Northwestern, where he majored in neuroscience. He became a senior captain on the swimming and diving team. 

After Eskrick-Parkinson gained his Jamaican citizenship, he reconnected with Knight-Wisdom. 

Last December, the 21-year-old joined Knight-Wisdom on Jamaica’s first-ever synchronized diving team. The duo finished second in the 3-meter synchro at the Scottish National and Open Diving Championships in Edinburgh. 

“It’s been a learning experience to see the lifestyle of a pro athlete,” says Eskrick-Parkinson, one of the Big Ten’s top divers. “To spend a week with Yona, train with him, see his diet and work outside of practice — it’s been really inspiring.” 

Discipline and time management — skills he honed while hitting the books in Evanston — have been crucial to Eskrick-Parkinson’s success. While his neuroscience courses could be intimidating, he says he grew comfortable balancing his sport and his studies. 

And helping Jamaica make sports history? He’s finding time for that too. 

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