Record-setting diver enjoys storied college career at Clarion
CLARION — Heath Calhoun has come close to gold before — close enough to realize how difficult it is to attain.
Last year with Clarion, Calhoun placed second at NCAA Division II nationals in 3-meter diving.
“Of course, my goal is a national championship,” Calhoun said. “But if I dive the best I ever have and finish third, I’m not going to be too disappointed in myself.”
Even if Calhoun does not win a national title, he’s accomplished plenty.
He entered this season as a four-time Division II All-American, placing ninth in 1-meter at nationals last year, third in 3-meter and 10th in 1-meter his sophomore season.
Already this season, Calhoun has broken his own school and pool record on the 3-meter board, posting a score of 366.80 at the recent Clarion Invitational. His previous mark was 362.30.
“Kids are performing more difficult dives today than ever before,” longtime Clarion diving coach Dave Hrovat said. “When you pull those dives off, the scores are going to be higher than ever before.
“Heath has the dedication and discipline that goes with being great in any sport. What sets him apart is his work ethic. He is tireless.”
Hrovat is in his 24th year as diving coach at Clarion. The program has only had two head coaches in its history as Don Leaf coached the diving team from its inception in 1968 through 1990.
Hrovat has coached divers to 38 individual national titles. He’s had 239 All-Americans.
“Heath is right there with any of them,” the coach said. “His record speaks for itself.”
Calhoun isn’t so sure.
“The record is very meaningful to me,” he said. “My high school coach, Ken Bedford, used to have that record and I’m honored to have broken it.
“But I don’t compare myself to all of those past champions. They established and continued tradition here that I just hope to follow.”
Calhoun played football and ran track when he was younger. He was looking for a winter sport in high school to fill the gap.
“My older brother and I used to flip around on the trampoline in the summer and my mother suggested I try diving,” Calhoun said. “She thought I might be good at it.
“It did come naturally to me and I love the individualism of it. Whether I succeed or fail, it’s on me and me alone and I like that.”
Calhoun originally went to the
Despite being granted a release by
“That worked out in Heath’s favor big-time,” Hrovat said. “It gave us practically a full year to work on his mechanics and body alignment.
“I do that with all of my divers, but Heath had the benefit of working out and practicing with the team for a full year without competing.”
Calhoun is majoring in rehab sciences and hopes to attend graduate school next year. He’s looked into
And he’s hoping to become a graduate assistant coach at whatever school he winds up with.
“I want to stay involved in the sport,” Calhoun said. “I have fun when I dive. I do my best when I’m having fun.
“There’s so much technique and fundamentals in diving. Hopefully, down the road, I can pass along what I’ve learned.”