Boyle County’s Jared Stivers commits to dive at Kentucky

Published 5:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jared Stivers has been a record-setter at Boyle County.

He made another mark for the Rebels this week, announcing that he’s committed to dive at the University of Kentucky next year.

It’s the first time in Boyle County’s history that an athlete will dive in college. Stivers holds the record for 11-dive meets at Boyle and 6-dive meets and now sets a high bar as an SEC diver.

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“It’s just kind of surreal,” Stivers said. “I knew it was possible but it still feels like a dream, I know once I get up there it’ll all kind of settle in but it’s definitely going to take some time. I’m still just kind of shocked that it’s actually going to happen.”

Stivers’ junior year was a breakout season for him, placing eighth.

Entering state this season, Stivers was seeded fifth. He said he knew the top was talented — he was ranked above the state champ from the year before — and was hoping for another strong finish.

“I just came in with an open mindset and knew that if I got top eight I would be happy,” he said. “Going into the meet, I hit my last dive for 40 or so points and I thought that would secure me top five. I went to go dry off, I missed a couple dives and then they announced the meet was over and I was sitting in third place. I said, ‘wait, what’s going on?’ My family, coaches were surrounding me and they just all went nuts. It was pretty nerve-wracking.”

Head coach Crystal Ellis said it’s been Stivers’ dedication that sets him apart.

Jared has worked really hard the last four years,” she said. “I remember when he came out his freshman year. He had dove before in the summers at the country club but came out his freshman year and was still learning we realized quickly that he had a lot of potential. The next year he really started to get more serious about it and joined the dive club at UK, then the last two years has been very serious and motivated and has just taken it to another level.”

Stivers has ramped up his practice schedule in the past two years at UK: Four days a week, three hours each day, and thanked those closest to him — parents, girlfriend, friends — for letting him dedicate himself to diving.

“I drive 45 minutes to and from practice Monday thru Thursday, and there have been times where I’ve asked if it was going to pay off, is it worth it? But I’m definitely glad I’ve showed up to practice,” Stivers said.

It was at a practice when Stivers was pulled aside and said he had a spot on the UK team this fall.

“I knew it was possible but I didn’t know when it could happen,” he said. “I talked with the coach before, tried to get in touch with him but that was while they were doing SEC, NCAA stuff so I didn’t really know when I would hear back.”

Boyle has had D-I swimmers, but Stivers is the first diver to go D-I.

It’s extremely cool that our first one is going division one,” Ellis said. “That just makes it even more impressive I think … I couldn’t be more proud of him. It definitely shows that when you want something you can work hard and achieve it. Last year he missed a dive at regionals and one at state and didn’t score what he wanted to. This year he came out knowing what he needed to do and he did it. His third place finish ties the highest finish Boyle has had at the state meet.”

Stivers will enroll in the summer and get to work as soon as he’s on campus. The Kentucky swim and dive team had a record 12 members on the All-SEC teams this spring.

“Work with them and see what they’re doing, see what I can do to improve is definitely exciting,” he said. “I’m amped, I can’t wait to get up there.”