The Binghamton men’s and women’s diving teams dominated the America East Diving Championships over the weekend, as seniors Sophia Howard and David Walters swept every diving title at their home pool. Howard won both the one-meter and three-meter dives for the women and was named the women’s Most Outstanding Diver while Walters captured the men’s one-meter and three-meter dives, earning him the men’s Most Outstanding Diver award.
“This weekend was incredible,” said Binghamton diving coach Heather Colby. “Our whole team is 11 divers, so they are 11 extremely hard-working individuals. I thought they had a great showing, and they show up for each other to make sure the meet can be the best it can possibly be.”
Howard won the three-meter on day one with a score of 265.10, sharing the podium with freshman Lindsey Weissman who took third with a score of 240.35. Maine junior PhilAnn Dixon captured second place (244.80). Day two proved just as successful for Howard, as she captured the gold in the one-meter with a 266.35 score.
On the men’s side, the trio of Walters, senior Erik Temple and sophomore Ryan Cohn swept both the one-meter and three-meter events, marking the first and second time the Bearcats have ever swept all three medalist honors in a single event at an AE championship meet. In the one-meter, Walters won with a score of 272.20 while Temple took second (270.85) and Cohn third (262.35). Temple and Cohn swapped places in the three-meter, as Cohn captured second-place while Temple took bronze. Walters captured first and broke 300 in the process, ending with a career-high score of 312, good enough for fourth in Binghamton University men’s all-time top 10 times/scores. Howard, Weissman, Walters, Temple and Cohn have earned all-conference honors by finishing in the top three.
“Diving is a one-minute-at-a-time sport, so until the meet is completely over, you’re not thinking about what your score is [or] what place you’re getting,” Walters said. “You’re just thinking about what you’re going to do on the board next and cheering your teammates on. I kind of forgot the [men’s Most Outstanding Diver] award was a thing until I started walking away and [Colby] pulled me back. It’s obviously special, but the team is the most important thing.”
Both Walters and Howard are captains and have found themselves in an increased leadership role this season. The two seniors have pushed and supported their teammates, and Walters and Howard agreed that they have laid a foundation that the divers can work off of going into next season.
“I was glad that we were able to create an atmosphere of hard work and team mentality so that after we’re gone, [the rest of the team] continues to keep that energy, positivity and love for each other,” Howard said.
While talent is a part of Howard and Walters’ success, Howard credited Colby for making the BU diving program prosperous. In four years, Colby has produced five Most Outstanding Diver awards at the AE championships. Walters has acquired this accolade twice in his career.
“[Colby] was the one who built this program,” Howard said. “She was there every day with love and positivity — your mom away from home. She’s ultimately [the person] who made us who we are.”
While the two-day diving meet has concluded, the AE Swimming Championship has yet to take place, and the scores from the diving meet will be added to the swim meet at NJIT next weekend. By winning all four diving events, Binghamton will have a slight advantage going into the swim portion of the championships.
The AE Swimming Championships will take place from Friday, April 23 to Sunday, April 25. The first day of the meet is set to begin at 2 p.m. in Newark, New Jersey.