Freshman diver Tom Towle is in a position not many others see: the top. Towle is the leading one-meter diver in the Midwest Conference, and is one of the front-runners for the conference championship. He predicts that it will be a close battle between Grinnell’s Eric Blevens and himself.”It will be incredibly close. I have watched Blevens since I started here, and he is very good.”
Towle thinks he will benefit from this rivalry.
“That is what I need to succeed, I do much better when I am competing against another good diver than when I compete against numbers.”
Towle has not been too shabby when he competes against numbers. At the Gene Davis Invitational, which was held here at Lawrence, Towle broke the pool record and was only two and three points off the university record and the conference record, respectively. When told of this, Towle did not even know of his achievements.
“I was amazed by how well I did. I was really focused mentally, but physically I just wasn’t one hundred percent. I think I would have done better if I was completely healthy.”
What makes it even more remarkable is that only four days earlier Towle had taken a trip to the emergency room for a fall sustained in practice.
“I was on the three-meter board, and I landed wrong. I hit the water hard. They took me to the hospital as a precaution.”
But more records are not all that Towle is shooting for.
“My main goal is to succeed at the three-meter board. I had never dove three meters until I came here. My other goal is to make it to nationals on both boards.”
If Tom keeps putting up numbers like he has so far this season, these goals are not out of reach. He is currently ranked second in the Conference in the three-meter board behind Blevens. His scores at the Gene Davis Invitational were just below the scores needed to qualify for the national meet.
“If I rise the degree of difficulty on my dives a little, I can achieve the scores I need to make it to nationals.”
Towle’s rise to diving fame began in his hometown of Mendota Heights, Minnesota. He taught himself the basics by copying divers taking part in the Olympics. He swam on a team while in elementary school, and finally in sixth grade he switched to diving completely. Towle was a major part of two consecutive Minnesota State Champion swimming and diving teams at Saint Thomas Academy High School in Mendota Heights. He says this is a major part of why he succeeds today.
“My coaches in high school always pushed me hard. They made sure we were always dedicated to the team, and realized team goals were more important than individual goals.”
This belief is why Towle would rather have the entire Lawrence swimming and diving team win the conference championship than have an individual championship.
Towle’s attitude towards swimming, as his career continues, is very basic and simple.
“I really want to improve. I want to keep having fun, and I love the challenge that it provides. I want to help the team as much as I can, and want to see how far we can go.