For those who don’t know my story, here it is. It is hard to believe that I am a retired collegiate diving athlete now, with only two years of diving competitively at RIT under my belt. But I have to say that those two last years of my college years and being on the RIT Swimming and Diving team are the best two years of my life thus far. I’ve grown and fought to prove that no obstacle will stop me from diving again.
Summer before I started diving for RIT, I excelled in diving with only 18 months of training with the Junior Olympics National Team, going from getting last place at Regionals Summer 2011 to being the top 12 divers at Regionals, Zones, and my dreams came true. I qualified and competed at my first and last ever Junior Olympics Nationals Championships August 2012. I was so eager to come to RIT and break records, compete at Nationals all four years, and maybe get All-American every year. But my triceps torn right before my Nationals Championships 2012, and I had to drop out of Diving with RIT my freshman year. After my first year at RIT, I finally found out that my shoulder was severely torn in two places and I needed to get a surgery or I would not be able to dive ever again. This injury was going to end my diving career forever. I knew I needed that surgery and I wanted to come back to diving. After one year of intense rehabilitation and strength training to get ready for diving again. I stepped up and joined the RIT diving team again for my third year of college.
I came back and only did 1-meter as 3-meter was too tough on my shoulder. I kept fighting and surprised myself by getting second at States Championships, breaking one record, and qualifying for the Regionals Championships. That did not go too well. That didn’t stop me, and as a Senior at RIT, I knew I only had one more year of diving. I had one last chance to soar and make it to Nationals.
Senior year came, I got back up on 3-meter and had so much fun with it. Throughout the season I broke all four records for both one and three meter diving, including pool and team records. Won first for my States Championships on 1meter and 3rd for 3 meter. I wanted to keep my undefeated record for one meter diving and I kept it by winning the Regionals Championships and I was on my way to my first and last ever Nationals Championships.
As you all know, I got fifth at Nationals and was RIT’s first All-American diver for 1 meter and 19th for 3 meter. I was not thrilled at the moment as I wanted at least top 4. Over the last couple weeks, I had to take as step back and look at the whole picture. All of these divers I’ve competed against had far more years of experience diving at Nationals, and I didn’t. It doesn’t matter how many NCAA trophies you have, how many All-American recognitions you have, or how many years of diving you’ve had. What matters the most is where you are today and how you got there. I came back to diving after believing it was inevitable for me to end my diving career. I fought through and I made it. I made it to be the RIT’s first All-American diver, getting 5th place is incredible for me and I’ve proven that any obstacle I’ve had does not stop me from doing what I love. Diving has always been a passion of mine, and I’m not ready to let go of it. I know I will be a diving coach some day, and I will.
My coaches, Cliff Devries and Jeff Stabile, made me believe that I will succeed. I cannot thank them enough for where I am today and how far I’ve come. Thank you for your support. Thank you, my parents, my brother, my RIT Swimming and Diving family, my interpreter, Alisa J Supplee, my bosses, my friends, and most importantly my conscience to allow me to believe in myself. I hope to inspire all of you to go after you dreams, no matter what obstacles you may have.
The summer after my first year of college, I finally had the surgery and I had the hope to dive again.
Two and a half years later, my persistence and determination brought me to my dreams of diving at Nationals, placing in the top 5, and being RIT’s first All-American diver.