Freshman Dives Right In

Dec. 12, 2008

By Phil Landry
Special to

For someone who had not been a diver until his freshman year of high school, Holy Cross freshman Adam DeVito has competed under an impressive learning curve. Having already broken the Holy Cross one and three meter diving records, DeVito is looking to continue to improve and break his own records. If the start of his Holy Cross career is any indication, he should be up to the challenge.

DeVito never had any training as a diver or gymnast, but he did have some sort of acrobatic background from his childhood. "All my neighbors had trampolines when I was younger and we pretty much lived on those," said DeVito. "That is how it all started."

Little did he know that through practicing flips on trampolines, he would catapult himself into a competitive diving career. "One of my friends told me I should join the diving team two weeks into my freshman year of high school. I tried it and ended up loving it," said DeVito. He went on to qualify for the Massachusetts state diving championships in each of his four years.

Despite his success in high school, DeVito did not come to Holy Cross expecting to immediately excel. After being accepted through early admission, the Walpole, Mass. native barely had time to adjust to college life before breaking the school diving records. "It has been a little unreal; it is almost like I have not done anything yet. I am still adjusting to the school and I have already broken the record and I am up on the wall," said DeVito. "I really can not believe it."

In collegiate diving dual meet competitions there are six dives on both the one meter and three meter diving board. Two judges submit a score from one to ten on each dive and all dives have an assigned degree of difficulty. The two judges' scores are added, multiplied by the degree of difficulty and added to a running total to obtain a final score at the end of the meet.

At his first diving meet versus Fairfield, DeVito was so nervous that he balked (stopping himself from leaving the board) on his second dive of the meet. "He looked at me with disbelief that he had done that," said Holy Cross diving coach Wilson Aybar. When a diver balks he loses two points off each judge's score at the conclusion of that particular dive. Fortunately, the announcer had yet to announce his dive which by rule offsets the balk. With that relief he went ahead with his dive, a forward three and a half somersaults in the tuck position, and scored sixes. "That was a great score not to mention that he learned that dive only four days prior to the meet," continued Aybar.

It was in just his first collegiate diving meet that DeVito broke the Holy Cross one meter school record set by Tim Tuck in 2003. He then improved that score against Patriot League foe Lehigh scoring 251.85 on the one meter board and breaking the three meter record set by Louis Minora in 1998 with a score of 240.90. This meet earned him Patriot League Diver of the Week honors as well as AT&T Crusader Athlete of the Week honors.

DeVito's success has not come without hard work. Aybar has worked tirelessly with DeVito to improve his technique. "I can remember the first day of practice where he was in my eyes a skilled diver but needed improvements on his dives. For one he never dove off the three meter board. So from that point forward he made it a goal to dive from the higher board," continued Aybar. "As he continued to dive off the three meter board he began to show improvement right away on the one meter board." Aybar's coaching influence is not lost on DeVito. "Coach has been great. I had a lot of trouble earlier in the year with twisting dives and he completely changed my approach. Now I can do them so much better and I can do much higher degree of difficulty dives," said DeVito.

DeVito has faced his share of challenges in his diving career. Along with injuries, he believes that one of the hardest parts of diving is the fear that accompanies high degree of difficulty dives. "The worst is when you try a difficult dive in practice for the first time. I usually start and stop about four times before I do the dive but I just tell myself it is only water. I try to jump out so I do not hit the board and just throw it and hang on," continued DeVito. "You hope you do not belly flop, but it happens. I had one this year and got bruises on both my arms which I did not think was possible from water."

The stiff competition is another difficult aspect of diving that DeVito has had to face. "I have definitely had some tough opponents so far. I was not expecting the competition I have received but it makes me better because I can watch them and learn. It is good to see other people do these ridiculous dives," said DeVito.

DeVito is looking to continue to improve his diving and has set very high goals for himself. "I definitely want to make it to the NCAA Championships. It is a big goal of mine. It would be hard to do but hopefully I can make it," said Devito who still realizes his importance to the Crusader team. "I am just looking to help out and get as many points as possible for the team."

Aybar believes that DeVito has a special passion that will allow him to continue his success on the diving board. "Improvement is a challenge and so far he has done just that. Adam already seems to have the eye of the tiger. The season is still young as he continues his quest to do his personal best."