Ligonier Valley diver Nick Roddy learns fast

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Sunday, February 2, 2020 | 9:03 PM


After competing in gymnastics, Ligonier Valley sophomore Nick Roddy took up swimming, then diving, and has had success in both, especially diving.

Roddy earned a gold medal in the boys 1-meter event at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championship meet Jan. 24 at Derry.

Ligonier Valley coach Chelsea Brant said Roddy is one of the first Rams to compete in diving in six years.

“Our school does not have a pool, and the YMCA where we practice removed their board years ago,” Brant said. “Last year at (the PIAA) District 6 swimming championships, we were watching the diving competition.

“Nick said, ‘Chelsea, I really want to do this.’ I explained how he would practice with Coach Trish (Brownlee) at Derry and dive at their meets but compete for our school.”

Brownlee, who runs the Derry Flip and Twist club, was surprised Roddy won in the county meet.

“With only six months of training, he made a nice transition (to) diving,” Brownlee said. “He can jump and spin and twist onto anything you tell him to do.

“He was super nervous because (he) learned two new dives a week or two before counties to increase his degree of difficulty. He was also nervous because he was competing against veteran divers.”

Roddy, who came from behind, kept his focus.

“Winning is certainly a terrific confidence- and morale-builder,” he said. “Just competing is a great experience, especially when talking with the other divers.

“I still have several dives I want to learn before the end of the season. I hope to compete well in the (district) competition and hopefully, states.”

Roddy will compete in the District 6 Class AA swimming and diving championships in late February.

“His specialty on the swim team is the 100 (yard) butterfly,” Brant said. “After barely being able to finish his last race last year, he has dropped his time and made our district cut by six seconds.

“My goals for Nick in the weeks ahead (are) constant improvement and hard work. I’m hoping a trip to states for diving is in his future.”

The top finisher in the district diving meet will advance to the PIAA championship in March at Bucknell.

Brant said Roddy probably has the strongest mind-body connection of any athlete she has coached.

Roddy said he wants to work hard to impress Brownlee, as well as his teammates and family.

“Most of all, I just want to have a fun experience,” he said.

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