If you’ve watched the Summer Olympics, chances are at one point you’ve stumbled across the diving competitions. The way each diver flips and spins in the air, slipping into the pool with barely a splash, seems effortless, but behind those flawless dives are years of practice. Some divers at the Claremont Colleges are making their own splashes and have had very successful seasons despite the challenges of diving.
Kendall Hollimon CM ’20 has had an outstanding college debut and is finishing up his first season as a Stag. On Feb. 24-25, he won the men’s 1-meter competition at the NCAA Region 2 Diving Championships with a score of 478.50, outdiving second place by 10 points. He dove at a 23.50 degree of difficulty, which was the highest in the entire field of divers. Hollimon also set a pool record in the 3-meter competition of 372.85 in the Sixth Street Rivalry dual meet against Pomona-Pitzer on Feb. 13. His top 3-meter score this year is 611.20.
“My parents wouldn’t let me not do a sport as a kid, and so I decided to swim,” Hollimon wrote in an email to TSL. “When I got into the pool I saw how high the tower was and demanded to jump off it. And so the next week I was enrolled in diving classes and have been diving ever since.”
Even with almost a lifetime of experience, Hollimon still struggles with the technicalities of the sport. Each new skill takes time to learn, he wrote.
“The most challenging part is definitely learning new dives,” he wrote. “It’s awful. I’ve wanted to quit because of it at least 40 times. The most rewarding part, though, is when you’ve finally learned them and begin to enjoy them.”
It is no surprise that such a challenging sport takes up so much time. Hollimon gives all his time to perfecting his dives.
“I don’t have any time for any other sports,” he wrote. “Diving basically owns me, and the off season for club is three weeks in August.”
It takes year-round dedication to become an elite diver, and Hollimon’s time and persistence have definitely paid off.
“I just want to stay on top of my game and do better at nationals than I did this year. There’s always room to improve,” Hollimon wrote.
With only one year of collegiate competition under his belt, he has plenty of time to do just that. Hollimon will end his season at the NCAA Championships the weekend of March 15 in Shenandoah, Texas.
He will be joined by Maia Presti SC ’18, who has also dominated the diving scoreboards. She placed second on the 1-meter board at the NCAA Region 2 Championships. Her dives, performed at a 23.00 degree of difficulty, earned her 464.80 points for the weekend. In the 2017 SCIAC Championships, Presti won the 1-meter event with 504.35 points, after having lost that event by just one point two meets prior.