Poolside with Liam McLaughlin
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Senior diver Liam McLaughlin
made a huge impact for the men’s team last season when he hit the boards and the books. He became the first male diver to qualify for the finals at the NCAA Zone Championships, placing 15th
in the 3-meter. He was also named the Big 12 Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was a Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll member and earned a spot on the Dean’s List.
“I’ve always been an academic kid. When it comes down to it, I expect more out of myself,” the Medina, Ohio said. “That may mean cutting something out like going out on a Saturday because I have work to do. It kind of stinks because I lose out a little bit on the college life, but I’m dedicated to what I’m here to do.”
The management information systems major has been hard at work this season with diving coach Michael Grapner to improve on last season and score strong dives in his final season.
“NCAAs would be a hard meet to make. My goal is to be top-10 at NCAA Zones, but Zones is a very difficult meet,” said McLaughlin. “My coach (Grapner) is great. I wouldn’t want to dive for anyone else. He is so knowledgeable about the sport. He and I have the same goals and we have a lot of synergy between us this year. It’s more than a coach-athlete relationship because we see eye-to-eye.”
“When it comes to the end of the season, instead of being the last-man-in to qualify at finals. I want to be a legitimate guy at that meet.”
McLaughlin also welcomes the opportunity to face Big 12 foe and swimming powerhouse Texas twice this season, this weekend in Virginia and at the Big 12
Championships later at the end of February.
“Holy smokes, (Texas) is good. We are going up against them this weekend, and needless to say, when you go up against Texas in any sport, you know they’re going to be good,” McLaughlin said. “Every single diver hits dive after dive, and this year they had the No.1 and No. 2 recruits. They’re killing it and will continue to kill it, which requires us to step it up.”
In contrast to previous years, the 2013 diving squad only has two members—McLaughlin and sophomore Keith Carmichael
. With only one training partner to work with on the boards, McLaughlin feels that the chemistry between them needs to be good in order to succeed.
“Keith’s a goon (laughed McLaughlin), I love the kid. At practice, we are great. Outside the pool we are great, I thoroughly enjoy having Keith as a training partner,” said McLaughlin. “He gets down at times but that comes with the territory and knowing how to handle the pressure. He’s a phenomenal training partner.”
McLaughlin feels though that in order to be more successful during meets, he might need to adjust his approach when it comes time to perform on the boards.
“I become a bit of a different person when it comes to meet time. It’s not to be offensive to anybody. It gets to the point that I really don’t want to talk to anybody, I just want to get into my zone,” said McLaughlin. “I think I may need to change that. I’m not seeing the results in meets. I’m seeing results in practice so I think I need to listen to Keith more and try to make a meet more like practice.”
While most college seniors are unsure of what their post-graduate plans might be, McLaughlin has already been hired to a position after he graduates. He feels that being hired has reduced a large portion of stress in this season.
“I just recently got hired at Deloitte in Washington, D.C., and I’m going to be a business technology analyst for the federal government,” said McLaughlin. “The beauty of this year is that I only have to focus on academics and diving.”