Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Olympic diver Chris Colwill comes home to Brandon to coach

BRANDON

Olympic diver Chris Colwill is coming home to develop young divers he hopes may one day follow in his footsteps.

Colwill, who competed in the 2008 Games in Beijing and this year's in London, is organizing a diving program for the Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center, where he started as a 5-year-old swimmer.

"I have great memories of this place so it really gives warmth to my heart to give back," Colwill said. "The kids just want to have fun here and that's the whole concept of the program, for the kids to have fun while learning."

Colwill will host a free dive clinic from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the aquatic center, 405 Beverly Blvd.

About 20 youngsters, ages 5 to 15, turned out last Saturday for the first clinic. Some had never tried diving, others were training with an eye on diving competitively at college.

Abigail Crosby, 10, took her first real dives at the event.

"It was really fun. He has already taught me the one-step dive," Crosby said. "He makes it fun but also shows you how to do it right."

Diana Cessna's son, Mason, 5, watched Colwill compete at the London Olympics. Colwill made it to the semifinals of the men's 3-meter springboard event.

"He was really excited to meet Chris," Cessna said. "We are so lucky and blessed to have someone of this level of skill living in our neighborhood."

"He's very experienced but he's still young, said Allyson Nied, 15, of Lithia, "so he knows how to relate better to younger swimmers."

Nied, who takes diving classes in Orlando and hopes to compete on the collegiate level, is thinking of signing up for Colwill's March diving course.

"He already helped me today by correcting some of my dives," she said.

Colwill, 28, trained at BSAC through his high school years at Tampa Preparatory School. He went on to attend the University of Georgia, where he was the 2006 NCAA Diver of the Year, and earned medals at the NCAA Championships, Southeastern Conference Championships, U.S. Open, Canadian Cup and FINA World Championships.

"He's a perfect fit for us," said Chuck Burgess, BSAC's executive director. "He has competed at the highest level and has a presence about him that gives him a connection with the kids."

Whereas some elite athletes find it difficult to coach others who are not as skilled, Colwill easily relates to youngsters, Burgess said.

"He's a real person. Even when you talk to him about the Olympics he's very humble. You can tell he truly cares, and not just about the elite athletes, but all the kids. He will make that transition to being a coach very easily."

Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, whose district includes the Greater Brandon area, was also on hand to present Colwill and Niko Milosavljevic with commendations on behalf of the commission.

Milosavljevic, 13, a swimmer for the Blue Wave Swim Team at the aquatic center, placed third at the Zadar Marathon Swim in Croatia earlier this year, completing the 3-mile swim in 57 minutes, 34 seconds.

"These athletes are ambassadors for Brandon and Hillsborough County," Higginbotham said.

The BSAC hopes to have the diving program, with Colwill at the helm, up and running in March. Colwill said his days as a competitive diver are over.

Patience and listening is the key to great coaching, Colwill said. And as someone who has had his share of coaches, he knows a little about what makes a good one.

"In my experience, I found that just listening and taking a little extra time can really make all the difference."

Now Colwill dreams of helping someone achieve their Olympic dream.

"I would love to produce the next Olympian," Colwill said.

For more information on the program, call the Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center at (813) 689-0908.

Kevin Brady can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

Olympic diver Chris Colwill comes home to Brandon to coach 10/18/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.