Diver rebounds from broken hand


Courtesy of Campbell Kolk

Oakland diver Campbell Kolk says his goal this year is to place in the top 8 at the Horizon League Championship.

Brittany Welch, Staff Reporter

Following his freshman year of competing with a broken hand and only placing 12th on the first-meter board and 16th on the three-meter board in last year’s Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championship, Campbell Kolk is looking for redemption.

“Last year, we won our 41st Horizons, but I also experienced my very first Horizon win with the team,” Kolk said. “Even though I didn’t have my best meet because of my broken hand, I was so proud of our team and our accomplishments.”

Sports have always been a huge part of Kolk’s life. Along with diving, Kolk grew up playing football and running track. His athleticism and will to “jump high” landed him in the sport of diving.

“When I was a little kid, I had a trampoline in my backyard, and I always tried to do the most insane flips,” he said. “My mom eventually signed me up for swim lessons, and the instructor asked if anyone wanted to try diving — and of course  I raised my hand.”

The brave daredevil side of Kolk evident when he was the only one to raise his hand was just the beginning of his diving career. A high school career of earning all-state diving accolades and being named all-conference in diving senior year followed.

“I was never coached in diving until college,” Kolk said. “In high school, we didn’t have a diving coach, and so I basically just taught myself everything I could do. I jumped super high, which made everything I taught myself easier.”

Even though Kolk never learned the basics while growing up and never was coached, that didn’t stop the interest from Oakland’s Swim and Dive Head Coach, Pete Hovland.

“I attended a summer camp for diving at Oakland my sophomore year, and that’s when I came into contact with Coach Hovland,” the sophomore said. “He told me I could jump super high and told me he wanted me to be a part of the team.”

The remembrance of last year’s Horizon League Championship has kept Kolk motivated for this year.

“I am so much better than last year, especially now that my hand is way better,” he said. “I know I will reach my goals, and I will help the team reach our goal. Every day I tell myself I am going to be better.”

The positive mindset has so far paid off. The swim and dive team beat Wayne State in last week’s meet, and Kolk individually earned second in the first-meter and third-meter.

“Our goal this year is to win our 42nd Horizon League Championship, and my goal is to be in the top 8,” he said. “We have a super good team this year, and our chemistry is outstanding. I know this year is definitely going to be one to remember.”

Kolk and the Golden Grizzlies swim and dive team return home this week on Friday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. against Northwestern University, and then Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. against the University of Illinois-Chicago.