Trinity’s dive team is one of the smallest sports programs on campus. Regardless of size, they are one of the most talented and disciplined athletic groups.
Head coach Stan Randall lead the team, who is currently serving his 17th season as Trinity’s dive coach. His impressive coaching resume includes 10 divers with All-American honors. On last year’s team, now sophomore Daniel Valmassei became a men’s honorable mention All-American on the one–meter board at the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Swimming & Diving Championships.
Valmassei explained that he chose Trinity because of the vast coaching expertise that Randall brings to the team.
“I greatly enjoy the time that we spend with Coach Stan. He has an energy and enthusiasm that I have not seen matched by any other coach in the nation,” Valmassei said.
Valmassei believes that the group succeeds because the tight-knit team constantly pushes one another to improve.
“The small size of our team and the nature of our sport allows us to be very close even if we don’t spend a lot of time together outside of the pool. Although tensions do occasionally flare, they are always brief and are quickly resolved because we want the best for each other, kind of like in a family,” Valmassei said.
Leading the diving program as captain is senior Duncan MacAskill, a psychology major from Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. MacAskill brings a high level of experience and determination to the position.
“I do my best to keep up with all of the team members since our coach wants the captain, whoever it may be, to stay up-to-date with everyone to see how well they are balancing academics and athletics. This keeps us in the right space to perform when it comes time for a competition,” MacAskill said.
In regards to the leadership capabilities of MacAskill, his teammates have glowing remarks.
“Duncan handles most of the communication and organization between Stan and the team. He also helps calm our nerves and assure us that we are on track for all of our goals, even when we are feeling like we’re behind,” Valmassei said.
First-year Katarina Partalas also commented on the easygoing nature of MacAskill.
“He’s super fun, and he’s a great captain. It’s nice to have someone older who’s been through the diving team and Trinity experience multiple times. My best friend Maren and I are always laughing and cracking jokes with him,” Partalas said.
In regards to the team’s routine, their schedule is quite intensive. Their practices begin in mid-September and continue until mid-February. To maintain their peak level, they only take the regular student break off for Thanksgiving and about 10 days off for winter break.
“We stay on campus after finals in December and come back to campus before class picks back up in January to get in some intense practices right before our championship season starts. Those of us who qualify for regionals or nationals continue training into March. Those who finish at regionals end practices just before spring break, and those who are fortunate enough to make it to nationals practice until the week after spring break,” Valmassei said.
Specifically, the team’s typical practice times last about two hours.
“Our practices begin at 3:30. We start off with about 30 minutes of dry land warm-up exercises. This usually includes stretching. After that, we dive for about an hour and a half. During that time, we work on polishing our form and takeoffs for the dives we have already learned, the no-splash entry, and occasionally take-on new dives,” MacAskill said.
Overall, the diving team is looking forward to improving and performing their best in each competition. Both sophomore Anthony Liva and Partalas have clearly defined their personal goals.
“For the rest of the competitions this year, my goal is to throw all of my dives at a consistently high level with the hopes of going to nationals this year,” Liva said.
Partalas echoed these goals.
“My goals are to complete my three meter list, stay consistent throughout the season at meets and become a better diver overall,” Partalas said.
Because he is in his final year at Trinity, MacAskill has given himself slightly different goals.
“As a senior, I am looking ahead to the rest of my competitions with the end goal of qualifying for NCAA’s. I have been the alternate qualifier for two past years, and injured for another year, so as I go into competitions, I do my best to treat all competitions seriously because I only have one year of eligibility left to make it to nationals. Treating less important competitions as if they carry higher prestige has been helpful for me in the past as a strategy for preparing for higher caliber meets, so I’m hoping this strategy will continue to be successful for me,” MacAskill said.
This week, Valmassei and Partalas received the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s and Women’s Diver of the Week accolades through their impressive performance in the team’s most recent meet at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Given their drive to succeed, Trinity’s diving team is sure to enjoy more strong results at the rest of their competitions this season.