Record breaking season for OU diver

It’s not very often that an athlete breaks his own personal record and the university’s record at the same time. But, that is exactly what diver Joe Smith accomplished.

Smith is always pushing himself to exceed his goals and aims as high as he can. His goal is to end the 2017-18 season with 380 points for 1 meter and 400 points on the 3 meter dives.

He says one thing that keeps him on track to reach his goals is having a strict schedule. Time management is one of the many opponents that student athletes face. Sometimes, it is the athletes’ most difficult opponent.

“I think that a lot of college athletes get really good at time management,” Smith said. “This year especially I have had to turn down a bunch of invitations for things because my workload is getting larger and practice consumes so much of the day.”

In the midst of all his business, Smith has incredible motivation to keep moving forward and become successful in his academic and athletic endeavors. He did not stop trying after he recently beat Oakland’s diving record, he is continually trying to beat the record he set.

“One thing that always motivates me is my failures…I’m not satisfied with being average and I think that that is what drives me to train harder and study longer,” Smith said.

The athlete has had some famous competition in diving. Most people think of basketball players or football players meeting the definition of “big-leaguers,” but Smith has gone head-to-head against Olympians.

Michael Hixon and Steele Johnson both received medals at the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016, and Smith has competed against both. Smith has also competed against James Connor, who was also at the 2016 Olympics but did not place. Smith said he does not have any specific diving idol he looks up to, but he admires anyone who can maintain a nice body line throughout their dives.

In collegiate sports there is the possibility of meeting famous athletes but Smith said, “I am not going to sugarcoat college athletics, it’s real hard. Classes are going to be difficult, practices will be difficult, and life always throws the unexpected.”

Smith understands how difficult it can be as a freshman starting college while also trying to find jobs and playing collegiate level sports.

“Lean on your teammates and coaches for help because I can guarantee they have been in the exact same situation,” he said.

Smith is only a junior at Oakland and has another season to aim higher and move farther along in his competition. For the second time this season he has been the Horizon League’s Diver of the Week. He currently holds the record at 362.40 points for the three-meter dive.

We will be seeing Smith and the other Golden Grizzlies swim and dive for the Zippy Invitational on Dec. 1 – 3. The teams hopes to bring some wins home for Oakland and continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the Horizon League.