From being out of diving to dominating competition in the Pac-12, senior Harrison Jones has showed how much can change in two years.
In 2011, when he was diving for USC, Jones was suspended for a year from USA Diving.
“I had some personal issues,” Jones said. “And I had some other family things I needed to take care of. So I took a year off, went out to China for about four months and then came back, moved in with my brother at Texas A&M and trained with the club team there for trials. And after trials, I came here.”
Jones hadn’t originally planned to come to ASU once he returned to the U.S.
“I was actually supposed to go to Cal and then come July 12 of this summer, (but) I actually got an email from one of the Cal coaches saying they gave my scholarship away to a swimmer,” Jones said. “So then it was kind of a mad dash for me and my dad to try and find where to go, who has money and who can do that in a short month’s time.”
Luckily for Jones, ASU dive coach Mark Bradshaw answered his call and had a spot open for him on his team.
“(Bradshaw) was ready for it, had some money and ASU was really quick with getting everything in and getting it rolling,” Jones said.
Jones went on to explain why ASU needed to be as quick as they were.
“I officially got accepted the night before classes started, so the day of classes starting, I was signing up,” he said. “So it was kind of a little whirlwind of a month trying to get here. And it was funny, my dad was like, ‘Well you’re either going to get accepted and go to ASU, or you’re going to start your life out in Arizona because I’m only getting you a one-way ticket.’”
So far, the transition to ASU has worked out well for Jones. He said he’s more motivated than he used to be, has his mind right and is going to every practice.
His new found drive has been paying off. Since the season began, Jones has not lost a single event in which he has competed for the Sun Devils.
Bradshaw said Jone is having success, because he is one of the most consistent divers he’s ever coached.
Jones said learning from an ex-Olympian like Bradshaw has been a great experience, and they both have a good understanding of one another.
“I always saw (Bradshaw) at the meets, and he’s always had great divers. But I was never really aware of his coaching style or anything like that, but it fit perfectly with my personality,” Jones said. “You know you can’t get away with much and, at the same time, he’s got a lot of good technical stuff. He’s good with understanding where I’m at in my career and how to push me in the right direction.”
Jones is still unsure of what exactly he will do when his career at ASU is over.
Bradshaw said Jones will most likely try out for the World Championship team and the World University games this summer beginning in mid-May. Bradshaw said he’d be surprised if Jones didn’t make it in the World University games.
Jones will have one more year of school left after this year, when his NCAA eligibility is up.
He does have some interesting plans when he finally gives up diving competitively.
“To be honest, I’ll be having a lot of fun,” Jones said. “I’ll be doing a lot of traveling — maybe going to do dive shows somewhere. I’ve always wanted to be a snowboard instructor, so maybe (I’ll) go to Colorado or Canada, so we will see what happens.”
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