Oswego State’s diving team had a great season last year with three divers qualifying for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships and its coach picking up a prestigious award.
Divers Shawn Merlin, Eric Messina and Eileen McMahon all made it to the NCAA Championships, while Oswego State’s men’s and women’s diving coach John Moore was named NCAA Division III Men’s Diving National Coach of the Year.
“It was a really great surprise,” Moore said. “We had two guys and a girl at nationals and they all performed beautifully. I know I won Men’s Coach of the Year, but I think having the two guys and the girl there really helped.”
The decision was made by all of the coaches that were at nationals based on performances by each coach’s athletes. All three divers performed very well in competition for the Lakers.
Eric Messina finished fourth on both boards and had a shot at winning. Shawn Merlin finished seventh on the 1-meter and ninth on the 3-meter springboard. Eileen McMahon finished 10th and 14th, respectively, along with being named to the CSCAA Scholar All-American Team. McMahon earned the award by performing well in nationals and having a G.P.A. of 3.5.
Although the team performed well together last year, this year’s squad will be missing McMahon, Merlin and Messina. McMahon graduated, Messina transferred and Merlin quit.
The diving team is left with two seniors and a sophomore on the women’s side and a junior, sophomore and freshman for the men. Chelsea Colton, Kellie Schieber and Rachel Tari make up the women’s team. The men’s team is comprised of Nick Pike, Joseph O’Brien and Eric Vogt. Coach Moore is now in the process of heavily recruiting to maintain the program.
Moore said the team’s recent success has led to better recruits for the program.
“The people that we had six years ago recruited the people that we had five years ago, which helps us recruit the right kids,” Moore said. “You’re not going to win a national championship without talented kids and have the kids enjoy the program, coach and school.”
So far this season, Schieber has swept both boards against Rochester Institute of Technology, but was edged out at both heights by Colton. On the men’s side, Pike swept both event against Clarkson in an overall team win.