2023 Usad Nationals Team

Nadadores Exceed Expectations at Winter Nationals

From November 28th to December 6th, over 250 divers flew through the air of the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the 2023 USA Diving Winter National Championships. Of those flipping and twisting their way down to the water, the Mission Viejo Nadadores had 13 divers in attendance, and head coach, John Appleman, was impressed with the blue and gold’s performance. He stated, “Everyone performed really well, especially as it’s a tough part of the season for our junior divers to compete in a senior competition.” Of those 13 Nadadores, 11 of them are still in high school, and to compete in a Senior National USA Diving competition is a huge deal for a young diver. Appleman continued complimenting the adolescent crew, “Our juniors handled the stress and pressure of Senior Nationals very well. It’s always tough competing at the senior level, and part of getting that experience will test the mental fortitude of young athletes. The more you do it, the more comfortable it gets, and I’m really impressed with how our divers did.”

Notable performances came from many of the young Nadador divers, including Zach and Jake Welsh, who earned a bronze medal in the men’s 3-meter synchronized diving event. Nolan Rooker and Jackson Lipscomb also dove well in that same event finishing in seventh place. In the women’s 3m synchronized diving event, Avery Giese paired up with Nadador alum, Ella Roselli, and the pair also finished seventh in their event. In the individual events, four of the junior Nadadores made it into the finals, “The highest placing juniors in the country,” said a proud Appleman, and really an astonishing feat considering the tough competition. 

As for the two more experienced Nadadores, Carolina Sculti and Grayson Campbell are well versed in the USA Diving Senior National scene, and their experience paid off in some well earned hardware. Sculti earned the bronze medal in her 3m synchronized diving event with her partner, Anne Fowler. The two were extraordinarily consistent, keeping mostly sevens from all the judges in all five of their final dives. Campbell won the silver medal in the men’s individual 3m event, which also qualifies him for the upcoming World Aquatics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in February. This was Campbell’s first event back after taking a break from competing after the 2021 USA Diving Olympic Trials. Even though he went two and a half years without a competition, the seven-time NCAA All American looked right at home and was only 1.4 points form the gold medal. Proud of his comeback performance, Grayson said, “Competing is one of the aspects I miss most about diving, and it’s something I’ve been anticipating for a long time. I went in with lower expectations than usual since it was my first event back, so it was great to exceed those, and I felt like I enjoyed the experience more than I ever have.” He went on to say his main goal was to get his Olympic Trials score cut, and he not only accomplished that, but was also able to put together a fantastic six dive list in the final, with four of those dives scoring more than 70 points. 

The Nadadores head home with Christmas break on their minds, and a plan to hit the new year hard, with a busy 2024 season culminating in the USA Diving Olympic Trials back at the same Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville. With one of the most talented Nadador teams in decades, everyone is excited to see what the blue and gold will do with the Olympic year ahead.