When athletes on the men’s diving team are up on the board, the pool turns silent and they are left alone with their thoughts.
After the meet ends, however, the conversations between senior captain Derek Rand and junior Martin Brown could help each diver make some loud statements at the end of this season.
Both Rand and Brown have already gotten scores positioning them to be picked for this year’s NCAA Championships, which are slated for March 21-24.
Brown said the mentor-mentee relationship he has with Rand has been beneficial for both divers.
“I do look up to him, but we also have a relationship where we can both give each other feedback and help each other throughout practice if we both need it,” Brown said.
Diving Coach Nate Brisley said Rand’s encouragement for Brown has inspired the younger diver to believe in his ability on the board.
“Part of Derek’s leadership role on the team is to say to Martin that he belongs at nationals,” Brisley said. “I’ve been telling him that for a while, but to hear it from a peer means a lot more.”
Rand did not waste any time to check off a big goal this season when he took the first step toward the national championships. Rand said he was surprised that he made it into the NCAA qualifying stages so early in the season and used his achievement as a stepping stone to compete harder for the Blue and Gold.
“I took it as a thing to come for the rest of the season, so it was definitely a relief when I made it,” Rand said.
Rand’s qualifying score of 283.4 in the one-meter dive came during the team’s meet against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Oct. 29.
While Rand was able to focus on his other goals, Brown had to wait until Saturday to earn the necessary score of 296.1 points in the three-meter dive during the team’s most recent victory against University of Rochester.
Rand is no stranger to national competition as a diver in Division III. He finished 15th and 13th in the one- and three-meter dives respectively at last year’s NCAA Championships in Knoxville, Tenn.
In the Blue and Gold’s last meet, Rand set pool records in the team’s road meet against the University of Rochester Saturday, winning both the one- and three-meter dives.
But more pressure was on Rand last season, as he did not register a score high enough to be considered for the national championships until the team’s final meet of last season: the Bomber Diving Invitational.
Both Rand and Brown have scored points for the Bombers squad, which is 14—1 for the season. In the season-opening meet against SUNY-Fredonia and SUNY-New Paltz, Brown finished second in the one-meter with a score of 254.77 points.
Rand and Brown have both submitted videos of their qualifying dives to be evaluated by eight judges who pick the top 20 divers in the nation. The judges will release their decision on the field of competitors March 2, one week after the Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association meets at the Webster Aquatic Center in Webster, N.Y.
The time will soon come when the pair of teammates might compete for the same spot. Brown said despite their friendship out of the pool, he and Rand would like to go up against each other for this year’s national title because it will motivate them more.
“Sometimes it’s fun and friendly competition in practice, but when it gets down to the best of the best, it would be awesome to go against Derek,” Brown said.