ASU dive team locked and loaded for the season

ASU dive is poised to live up to the team's prominent history

Certain athletic qualities have different value depending on the sport, like being tall in basketball, or fast in track. While these are commonly seen as benefits to athletes, it is a different type of quality that is considered advantageous on the diving board. 

“Usually divers are very small as you would expect mostly through the fact that there is a lot of tumbling activity, acrobatics, so we want quick small movements,” head coach Mark Bradshaw said. “Anybody with a quick twitch, that's very quick in general, is suited for diving.”

ASU has experienced a rich history of diving excellence. With Bradshaw coaching in his twenty-first season, the Sun Devil dive program has proven to be an NCAA powerhouse. 

“It's a stated goal of ours that we want to out-point every dual meet team we compete against,” Bradshaw said. “Swim and dive points are together, but in terms of my personal goals for my divers I want to outscore every team we compete against. Overall, I look at my task to develop them as much as I can to become champions.”

During Bradshaw's tenure, he has been named Pac-12 Diving Coach of the Year nine times and he’s coached 32 individual All-Americans. Nine of Bradshaw's divers have won four individual NCAA Championships each. 

As a diver himself, Bradshaw represented the U.S. in the 1988 Olympic games.

Some of the past Sun Devil diving greats include 2014 graduate Riley McCormack who is a two-time Olympian for Canada and nine-time All-American Joona Puhakka who won four NCAA Championships from 2002-06.  

Over the weekend, the ASU swim and dive team went 2-0 with wins over Utah and Florida State.

Senior diver Mara Aiacoboae picked up wins in the women's three meter against Utah, and against Florida State where she won the women's platform dive with a score of 265.95.

“We’ve been focusing a lot on reps during this point of the season, but technique is always our main focus,” Aiacoboae said.  

The 5-foot-3 Romanian was named the ASU Ward O’Connell Most Valuable Women's Diver last season. 

Last year's most valuable men's diver, senior David Hoffer is not competing for the Sun Devils during the season. However, Hoffer is still training for non-NCAA contests.

“I have the USA Winter Diving Nationals coming up in December,” Hoffer said. “I want to be top eight for that – it would put me on the US National Team.”

The Sun Devil divers look to add to their hot start and to continue ASU’s tradition of diving prowess.

Looking ahead, the ASU swim and dive team has a challenging weekend of dual meets against USC on Friday, Nov. 3 at 2:00 pm MST and UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 11:00 am MST at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex in Tempe.

Reach the reporter at or follow @nsheehy_nick on Twitter.

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