Sometimes in sports, there are positions on teams that might get overlooked by the larger ones. Like the kicker in football, they might be overshadowed but without them, a team can’t win.
The divers could be called the “kickers” of the swimming and diving team; they don’t get the recognition the swimmers get, but the team can not win the meets without them performing well.
One of the senior divers on the team who plays a big role is Chad Shire, who most recently just received his sixth New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Diver of the Week honor of the season.
Shire started his diving career at Kingsway Regional High School where, after two years of swimming, he switched over to his current sport of diving.
“I actually swam for two years when I was in high school,” Shire said. “And then I dove for one year. I chose diving because I was a gymnast growing up, so that was more what I enjoyed and what I was good at already, so I just grew to like it.”
The fact that he was a gymnast is something he credits as making the transition to diving easier when he first started.
“I think [it helped] a lot,” Shire said. “I mean I don’t think I would be doing anywhere as good as I am now if I didn’t have that background, a lot of gymnasts translate well into diving because it is sort of the same thing just in the water.”
Even though he did have the gymnastics background, the dives he is doing today were new to him when he started diving at Rowan.
“I didn’t know any of the ones [dives] I do now before I came in,” Shire said. “The hardest one is probably the front three and a half, pike on three meter and then tuck on three meter. It’s just easy to get lost in the air because it’s the fastest I will be flipping through the air, so you get discombobulated easily.”
Shire has now not only learned these dives but is also now one of the top divers here at Rowan. Since he has gotten here, he has received many honors like NJAC Diver of the Year, Metropolitan Championships Diver of the Meet and last year was selected as the first alternative in the NCAA Division III Championships.
The best part of his career, according to Shire, has been the training before the meets and when it paid off at last year’s NJAC Championships.
“I think the training is always amazing,” Shire said. “I just think constantly having all day to work out and dive is a lot of fun and helps you improve a lot. And last year, winning both boards at our conference was probably the highlight.”
Shire and the rest of the diving team has played big roles in Rowan’s past streak of championships, it is just more under the radar. Shire says that it might be like this because even though it is technically one team, the divers are also a team of their own.
“It is definitely separated a little bit,” Shire said. “I mean with our practice schedules and with most of our meets, we sort of have our own speared things between warm ups, competing and everything else that has to do with it, and since there are more events and more swimmers than there are divers, there is a little bit of that [overshadowing] but that is just the nature of the sport, we are separate but linked together of the water.”
Even if they are a little separated, like Shire said, they are also linked by water, meaning without divers, like kickers in football, the swimming and diving team could not win their meets and Rowan would not be on their fourth consecutive NJAC Championship.
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