Stamford's Hannah Chuckas, diving champ, finds joy in music, songwriting

When Whirlwind Diving coach Joe Somma was first introduced to Stamford’s Hannah Chuckas, she was in the eighth grade, a gymnast looking to try out a new sport.

Somma could see the potential and strength gained from gymnastics, but Chuckas was getting a late start in the pool.

A little more than two years later, Chuckas was a State Open diving champion.

That’s not the normal arc of a career, but then again, where Chuckas is concerned, anything is possible.

“She’s so talented with everything she does,” Somma said. “She sings, she plays lacrosse, she’s done gymnastics for the high school team. She’s multi-talented and a person with all of those abilities, if she puts her mind to do something, she can do it.”

Diving may be where Chuckas, a senior at Stamford after transferring from Westhill, has drawn the most attention, but it’s her artistic talents as a singer and songwriter which she refers to her as her “passion.”

“Singing and music have been a part of my life for so long,” Chuckas said. “My family would all get together every night to watch American Idol when I was five, and I would just get up and sing and dance I loved it so much. I did little talent shows here and there.”

“Singing brings me so much joy. I want to be the next big pop star and be able to get my voice out there.”

Chuckas has original songs, including “You’re The Only One For Me,"  available on several  music platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music and has videos on TikTok (hannah.chuckas) and YouTube (@hannahchuckas7905).

Writing songs allows her to let out her emotions and express creativity.

“It lets me be me,” Chuckas said. “No one judges me and I can just do what I love.”

Her friends and family are followers and she said her best friend has helped her with some of her songs, allowing her to talk through ideas and get support from someone close.

“She likes to write stuff too and she loves to hear it and support me with my singing,” Chuckas said. “She’s great with constructive criticism, helping me and being a supportive friend.”

While her love for music has been a part of life since a young age, her diving experience has been much shorter. Gymnastics had been a focus, but Chuckas was looking to do something a little more “free” which would allow her to have more of a social life and wouldn’t be as hard on the body.

There was one thing from gymnastics she wanted to keep.

“I still loved flipping, so I wanted to keep that in whatever sport I did,” Chuckas said. “My mom suggested diving so I started and really enjoyed it. It kept the flipping sensation, it wasn’t as hard on my body and I wasn’t landing on anything, so it was a little less scary.”

She didn’t compete with the Westhill/Stamford co-op team as a freshman, instead learning the basics of diving.

“I saw her ability based on her strength and her power from being a gymnast,” Somma said. “My goal with her from the eighth grade when she first started was let’s get a good foundation even though she had started late.

“The sky was the limit, but I just wanted to take my time with her.”

The pandemic made all meets in 2020 virtual, but when the sport completely returned in 2021, Chuckas was gold, winning CIAC Class LL (469.25) and State Open (456.95) championships.

As a senior this fall, she won the FCIAC crown with a 440.75 score, and was then runner-up in both Class LL (486.50) and the Open (487.20).

“Overall I felt really good about the season,” Chuckas said. “I went into FCIACs and the meet was super-close. But I just did my dives, I pulled through and it felt super-good to know that I finished off with a bang.

“I was hoping to go for a clean sweep but technically, I can say that I am a state champ and an FCIAC champ. It’s just not in the same year.”

Chuckas has now jumped back into  gymnastics for her senior season and will play lacrosse in the spring. She also plans on diving with the Whirlwind team into the spring,

Chuckas is still waiting to hear back from several colleges, but with her heart set on a larger southern school, the commitment needed for a D1 sport, and an eye on possibly breaking into the music industry, her athletic career may be reaching an end.

She said she’s likely going to major in psychology with a possible minor in music production.

“I do like to do a lot of it on my own, but it would be nice to know the fundamentals of everything,” Chuckas said. “So it’ll help me later on and I could make connections with people.”

When the book finally closes on her high school career, Chuckas said what she’ll miss the most is the feeling of being part of a team.

“In high school, even though it’s still individual with diving and gymnastics, you are a team,” Chuckas said. “I will miss the team aspect of everything and feeling like you have that family that you can go to and have fun after school with.”; @dstewartsports