Taking the plunge: Stivers setting record marks in junior year

Published 11:50 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Two years ago, Jared Stivers was diving for the thrill.

The thrill is still there for him as a junior, but he’s looking to make noise at the state level.

Stivers placed third at the University of Kentucky in the biggest dive meet of the season for the Rebels in January. He holds the school record for 11-dive meets and six-dive meets, both set this season.

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Is he the best diver to come through Boyle County?

“Oh yes, for sure,” Boyle head coach Crystal Ellis said.

Stivers got his start in diving as a middle schooler at the Danville Country Club, but said he quit after he didn’t see it going past middle school.

“I didn’t know Boyle had a diving team,” Stivers said. “I talked to Joe Webb, one of the seniors when I was a freshman, because he was on my team at Danville Country Club. So I got one of my buddies, John Masters, to come out with me. I thought I’d be somewhat OK coming out because I’m not starting fresh, I’ve got some experience.

“I’ve just taken that, I’ve been practicing. I got up to UK four times a week and just work for all of this. This kind of feels like my breakthrough season, honestly.”

But really, diving started before middle school. Stivers said he’s always been fearless.

“For me, I really like it,” he said. “I’ve always been a kid that likes to flip around, jump on the couch, jump on the bed, anything like that. It’s just an opportunity that I took in freshman year and it’s just kind of taken off.”

Ellis said she’s noticed him take it more seriously this season compared to his first two.

“Last year he started taking it more seriously, he goes to UK for a dive club up there,” Ellis said. “Didn’t have the state meet we wanted last year, this year he’s come out a completely different kid. He has a different personality, he’s more serious, more focused.”

Ellis noted the UK meet — plenty of boys’ and girls’ divers resulted in a meet that lasted an entire day. But Stivers was focused throughout.

“(Jan. 20) we had a dive meet at UK and there were 40-plus varsity male divers and he placed third,” she said. “John Masters placed ninth. Just his attitude and demeanor, he had a purpose. Before, it was something fun, it was having a good time. But this year, something has clicked and changed and you can definitely see that drive in him, which is fantastic.”

Stivers said he and Masters recruited students at Boyle to come out to the dive team by showing off some of their old diving videos.

“The way it worked, me and John came out and we would show people videos of when we were young, just doing reckless stuff,” Stivers said. “We would just kind of recruit kids, show them that at school and they thought it was cool. We got some of the football guys to come out, they told their friends, now we’ve got a pretty large team for a 3A school. We’re up there with some of the bigger schools in team points and we can beat some teams that you might not expect.”

It’s not an easy sport, but it’s definitely unique. Judges determine your score and it’s just you up there — no relying on teammates to help you out.

“Diving for me, it’s a mental game. It really is,” Stivers said. “When you get up there and you try a new dive, it’s something that is completely different from every other sport. You have boundaries. With basketball you can learn it all at once, with diving it takes time and you really have to progress.”

Ellis said she’s seen Stivers step up as a leader this season, and he’s a great example for young divers because of how far he’s come in high school.

“He does go to UK, and he comes here and he can sometimes try new stuff that he can’t maybe do at UK and have fun, have camaraderie with his teammates,” she said. “He obviously has a lot of knowledge and can come in and help with some of the newer ones, we have a lot of newer divers this year as well. They can see what he has done in two years’ time.”

Stivers said he could see himself diving in college if the opportunity arose.

“I can honestly see myself diving in college, I’ve talked to UK and I think they like me up there,” he said. “I was kind of late to the game because I didn’t start going up there till last year, so I could see it maybe turning into a walk-on experience or something like that. I’ll probably gather up some videos, put them on YouTube and if I get an offer from a smaller school, maybe I’ll do that. I like Centre too, this is my home pool.”

The Rebels have dive regionals at Woodford on Feb. 7, with state later this month.


Jared Stivers’ dive results this year


Nov. 15: 3rd at Woodford

Dec. 20: 1st at Centre

Jan. 10: 1st at Woodford*

Jan. 14: 2nd at Centre

Jan. 20: 3rd at UK**

Jan. 24: 1st at Centre


*school record 265.20 for 6 dives

**school record 447.00 for 11 dives