Vikings make splash: New diving team making their mark

When the word ‘sports’ comes to mind most think of football, basketball, or baseball, but what about all the others? Unfortunately, many high school students don’t view sports out of that realm, but divers at Bryan High are challenging that way of thinking.

The diving team existed for a short period of time in the early 2000s before Bryan High split with Rudder. During its short time at Bryan High, the team was composed of gymnasts and since that sport was transferred to Rudder, there was no one left to man the team for Bryan.

When Coach Gina Rodriguez took over in 2011 she began to steadily work to expand the swimming team, and in doing so aimed to reinstate the diving team as well.

“For one, it adds to the points for the teams overall achievement,” Rodriguez said. “There are a lot of teams that have divers.”

Having been around the water for over 35 years, Rodriguez has a passion for the sport.

“I dove in high school myself,” Rodriguez said. “As soon as I graduated, I started swimming in a masters program, but then I started to coach diving and swimming with middle school kids and then I started at a high school level.”

Given the breadth of Rodriguez’s involvement in aquatic sports, she has developed many valuable skills. When it comes to the proper approach for boosting her team’s confidence and efficiency, she knows how to push them to flourish not only in the pool, but in other aspects of their life.

“What drives me to coach my best is to help the swimmers be the best that they can be,” Rodriguez said. “Not only in diving, but challenging them with their academics and pushing them to try harder things, because when they try harder things here in a safe environment, in life, they’re able to see that they can rise up and meet the challenge.”

With every sports team, the pressures of proving skills and abilities weighs on each member, since their performance in the pool and the work they put in determines their success on the team.

“The practices are what motivates me to do my best,” senior Kyle Hughes said. “If I don’t give it my all, then all the hours I spent in the pool are going to be for nothing.”

Such dedication to the sport, pushes the divers to prove their abilities for all to see.

“I want people to know that we are a fantastic diving team,” sophomore Rayvon Johnson said.

Although diving is more of a fringe sport in Texas, the Olympics have helped it reach new popularity.

“I definitely think that the Olympics has a positive effect on the reception of diving on both the local and national levels,” Hughes said. “The Olympics basically glorify all sports and encourages youth to try new things. It’s easy to get secluded from basketball, football, and the main sports, but hopefully we can get a little more recognition and involvement from the rest of the school.”