The Platform For Success
By Caroline Ahearn
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Despite her reputable status as a star on the Holy Cross women’s diving team, sophomore Casey Sherman takes a humble approach when it comes to talking about her accomplishments in the pool.
However, the Littleton, Mass. native has certainly earned bragging rights having set four Holy Cross records over the span of two years. She started the trend of making history as a freshman, diving for a pair of record-breaking scores.
Sherman made her first mark on the team in her inagural meet, breaking the school record held for 14 years with her score of 287.77 in the three-meter dive in a dual meet against Iona on October 9. This earned her the titles of Crusader of the Week and Patriot League Female Diver of the Week.
She then went on to break her own three-meter diving record a few weeks later, recording a score of 292.35 versus Sacred Heart. During her freshman year, she also broke the Holy Cross one-meter dive (11 dives) record in January with a score of 424.28.
Sherman holding her two freshman year records
Later on in her first season, she qualified to compete in NCAA Zone A Diving Championship. Sherman was the second Crusader and the first freshman in program history to compete in the NCAA Zones, which features the top divers from the northeast region each year, and she was one of just two Patriot League divers to qualify.
Sherman with U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Diver Greg Louganis
A swimmer since age six, and a diver since age seven, Sherman started competing in the pool with her older sister Kelly at the Westford Swim & Tennis Club. Soon after, they joined Boston Area Diving (BAD), which is regarded as one of the most dominant New England Junior teams for the past 30 years. While diving for BAD, the Sherman sisters also grew up playing soccer and softball together, always viewing each other as teammates and never as competitors in anything they participated in. Together, the Sherman sisters were able to travel all over the country and the world through BAD.
“There are so many great memories,” recalled Sherman. “With diving and being able to compete on a high level, we took many trips and adventures. We had the opportunity to compete in China, which was both of our first times there after we were adopted. We were able to meet Chinese divers and experience the Chinese culture.”
Sherman with her sister Kelly at the Great Wall of China
Coincidentally, Sherman’s early years with BAD brought her to campus long before collegiate diving was on her radar, as she practiced at the Luth Athletic Complex. Even though her father is a member of the Class of 1967, she never thought to look at Holy Cross, never even taking a tour. She admits that diving in college never felt like a specific goal she had to reach, instead it was simply a routine she stuck with.
“I chose Holy Cross for the great balance between Division I athletics and challenging academics,” said Sherman. “I’ve always been a student-athlete, it’s just kind of my lifestyle.”
Now in her sophomore year, Sherman has maintained her trend of making history and besides one meet, she has continued to place first in every one and three-meter diving event she's competed in.
Sherman reset her former three-meter diving record from last season at the Worcester City Championship this year on October 29, placing first and setting the new standard with a score of 293.54. At that same meet, she additionally registered a personal record of 265.5 in the one-meter (six dives) with another first-place finish.
Then at Sacred Heart on November 5, Sherman broke another pair of school records. Again, finishing first place in both the events, she tallied record-breaking scores of 186.95 in the one-meter (five req.) and 239.10 in the one-meter (optional).
She has once again been named Patriot League Diver of the Week, and will return to the NCAA Zone Diving Championship in 2017, for the second year in a row.
Even though this season is only her second on the Holy Cross diving team, Sherman has already positioned herself as a leader, especially according to head coach Barry Parenteau and diving coach Wil Aybar. Both credit her ambition and determination as the key to her success, and by extension, the success of the whole team.
"Casey has motivation and her team looks up to her and cheers her on,” said Aybar. “With the way she finishes dives, it inspires others to be like her. Her execution at the end of the dive is what she does well. It doesn't matter what the situation is, Casey has a contingency to line up her finish."
Sherman with Aybar and Parenteau
While others will credit Sherman as a major asset to the diving team’s success, she humbly credits her success to those who have supported her over the years. Her mother was a two-sport college athlete at the UMass Lowell, and always encouraged her daughters to work hard and be independent. “You know what you want, Casey, work for it,” is what her mother taught her. Sherman also says her coaches have supported and pushed her to work harder, score higher and do better; and although diving is an individual sport, her teammates’ encouragement and friendship are essential to her success.
“I think everyone needs a separate support system from their family,” said Sherman. “They’re not just my teammates, they are my friends too.”
Though Sherman already has enough success stories to fill a novel, she is determined to continue on, not for the recognition, but because she loves the sport. When the day of a meet comes, she does her best to stay calm and work hard. Simply put by Coach Parenteau: “She wants to dive.”
When asked what advice she would give her freshman year self on the first day of practice, Sherman said, “Just to take it one day at a time and to focus on the little goals.”
Sherman has certainly succeeded in all of the little and big goals she has set for herself so far and is on the path to continue to do so this season, carrying the momentum throughout the rest of her Holy Cross career.