Brandon Olympic Diver Inspires Athletes

Olympics-bound Chris Colwill didn’t forget his hometown or his former diving training facility on a recent trip home just before heading to training camp for the Beijing Olympics. In fact, he spent an afternoon delighting young divers at his former training center, Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center. Hundreds of divers, friends, family, fellow students from Tampa Prep and diving buddies gathered for a 30-minute diving demonstration just days after Colwill was named to the U.S. Olympic diving team, one of the 11 U.S. divers heading to Beijing in August to represent the nation. Colwill will compete in the 3-meter springboard and the 3-meter synchronized with Boca Raton’s Jevon Tarantino.

Colwill grew up in Brandon and dived with the Jetstream Divers and diving Coach Joe Greenwell, who is based at the Aquatic Center. He graduated from Tampa Prep and spent five years at the University of Georgia. The accomplished diver has records including being an 11-time All American, winning three NCAA National Championships and being a two-time NCAA Diver of the Year.

Also, as an added inspiration, Colwill was born with 40 percent of his hearing and typically wears hearing aids but not during diving.

When asked by divers in training about his feelings towards the Olympics, Colwill said, “I am looking forward to the Olympics and doing my best in Beijing. My favorite dives right now are three-meter,” he said.

“I started diving when I was 5 and played soccer, did gymnastics and then found a love for diving,” said Colwill when asked how he got started in diving.

Parents Chuck and Debbie Colwill, continue to live in Brandon and couldn’t be more proud of their son. “This is what we have been working for,” said Debbie who agrees that her son is a great inspiration for other local swimmers and divers.

Lori Bukaweski, marketing director for BSAC, said, “We are so pleased that Chris could join us before heading to the Olympic training camp. We couldn’t have asked for a better send off.”

In addition, Colwill autographed photo cards and T-shirts and even cheeks of his fans.

“We are looking forward to hosting some fun, family events here at the center that will allow us to watch and cheer- on Chris in the Olympics; we are all so proud of him,” added Bukaweski.

BSAC is no stranger to having athletes represented in the Olympics. In fact, double gold medalist swimmer Brooke Bennett is from the area and trained at the Center under current swim coach, Peter Banks. In additon, Maritza Corriea, Olympic silver medalist, also trained there.

“In fact,” added Bukaweski, “we have had an athlete represented at every summer Olympics since 1968.”

Colwill is not the only club member heading to Beijing; Swimmer Golda Marcus trains with Peter Banks and represents El Salvador.

For more information on this summer’s Olympics, visit www.olympic.org. For information on Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center, visit www.mybsac.org. Visit Colwill and cheer him on via his site at www.chriscolwill.com.