All posts by USA Diving

Michael Mosca: From Olympic Trials finalist to Rhodes Scholar finalist

Mike Harvard-Cornell-Dartmouth 14 2

Photo by Ray Yeager

Michael Mosca, long-time USA Diving member and senior at Harvard, was a finalist at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for diving. Now he is a 2014 Rhodes Scholar finalist. This weekend he will vie for one of the most coveted spots in academia to study at the University of Oxford in England for two years before he begins medical school. The rare double feat is most notable not for what he accomplished on the road to the finals but rather for the obstacles he overcame to get there.

Mosca, who started his USA Diving career with a last-place finish in the 11 and under age group at regionals, also had a rough academic start. After multiple setbacks and repeating the third grade, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD and an expressive language disorder. In a speech he gave at the inaugural USA Diving Rings of Honor induction ceremony at the conclusion of the 2012 Olympic Trials, Mosca credited the sport of diving with helping him to develop the resolve and resiliency needed to overcome many of the challenges associated with having learning disabilities.

“As divers, we show up every day and face our fears. We learn to fail and get right back up on the board. We learn to believe in ourselves and trust our coach and mentors,” Mosca said. “The life skills we gain from diving are invaluable and prepare us for our future career path, wherever it may lead us.”

Mosca thinks it is critical that divers give back to the sport and share the benefits with the next generation. He has volunteered as a coach for inner city children in Boston and participated in diving demonstrations to raise funds for scholarships and inspire children in New York City to try diving. Despite the time demands of a student-athlete, Mosca co-directs the Harvard Emerging Literacy Program (HELP) and reads weekly to preschool children at Head Start Schools in low-income areas of Boston.

“Reading out loud was always a challenge for me, even worse than diving off the 10-meter platform,” he said. “Getting over the fear of reading was no different than getting over the fear of learning a new dive. It’s all about being present: showing up and pushing through the moment knowing that it will be a long time before it will all come together, and trusting that if you persevere long enough you will succeed. I share with the children in our HELP program that if I can face my fear of diving and my fear of reading, and make it all the way to the finals of Olympic Trials and to Harvard, they can too.”

Mosca will face a panel of judges with varying perspectives at the Rhodes scholarship finals. The experience will be a familiar one. He faced a panel of judges at the Olympic Trials who scored him against the best of the best in a pressure-packed competition. Instead of critiquing every physical movement he makes, the Rhodes panel will evaluate his scholarly achievement, character, commitment to others and the common good, and potential for leadership. Mosca’s long-term goal is to be an academic orthopedic surgeon and a U.S. Olympic Team physician.

“Diving prepared me well for many things in my life, and the final round of Rhodes is chief among them. I’ve visualized the moment and when it happens I am going to tell myself the same thing I did before the finals of the Olympic Trials. Believe in yourself and in your preparation. You can’t control anything but your own performance. Be thankful to have the moment and realize that the true reward of being there is being there itself,” Mosca said. “The main thing I’ll tell myself is that I’m just wearing a different kind of suit.”

DIVE IN: The lessons learned from diving go much further than the pool. Diving helps build character, heart, discipline, patience and much more. Diving can build a foundation for success in life, and Michael Mosca is proof of that. If you are inspired by his story, please consider a donation to USA Diving’s ‘Dive In’ campaign. Funds raised will benefit athlete development, training opportunities/facilities and education and innovation to support all levels from grassroots and novice and beyond! Your donation is a tax-deductible charitable contribution to the extent allowed by law.


Important information for potential World University Games participants

With the 2015 USA Diving Winter Nationals quickly approaching, we wanted to get you thinking about possibly qualifying for the 2015 FISU World University Games, since it’s a self-funded trip. If you have any interest in trying to make this team and travel to Gwangju, South Korea, you can start your fundraising efforts now. The travel dates for this event are June 28-July 10, 2015. If there is any way you might participate/qualify, paperwork is due by January 16, 2015!

World University Games selection procedures

All divers in an individual event or on a synchronized team must meet the FISU eligibility criteria to be eligible for selection in that event.

a) Only the following may participate as competitors:
1) Students who are currently officially registered as proceeding towards a degree or diploma at the university or similar institute whose status is recognized by the appropriate national academic authority of their country (incoming college freshman are eligible)
2) Former students of the institutions mentioned in a) who have obtained their academic degree or diploma in the year preceding the event

b) All competitors must satisfy the following conditions:
1) Be a national of the country they represent
2) Be at least 17 and less than 28 years of age on January 1 in the year of the event.

This is a self-funded trip.
Historically the NCAA has allowed universities to help with the cost associated with participation in the event but USA Diving cannot assure divers of assistance from their institutions.

The World Universiade Games events will be self-funded. It is projected that the cost for each participant (divers/coaches) will be approximately $5,000 per person. All potential participants, including alternates, must provide all required paperwork and proof of funding (letter from college, personal credit card details) to USA Diving by January 16, 2015.

How to pay:
Either your school will submit a letter guaranteeing to pay or you fundraise/self-fund on your own (or sign the attached agreement). If you are fundraising or self-funding on your own without the support of your college/university, you are responsible for collecting the funds. Please do NOT have any sponsors, supporters, friends or family send money to USA Diving on your behalf. Following the event, USA Diving will send either the college/university or you personally an invoice to pay at that time. Thank you for understanding.

Paperwork: The required forms are due to USA Diving by January 16, 2015 (per the selection procedures) if there is any way you might attend/compete in the WUGs. Send to USA Diving at 132 E. Washington Street, Suite 850, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or scan and email to


Each team member will be required to formally accept the position immediately following qualification at the 2014 Winter National Championships. Because 2015 marks the beginning of 2016 Olympic qualifying and because of the proximity in competition dates, any athlete who earns selection to the 2015 Pan American Games team or the 2015 World Championships team in an Olympic event will not be eligible for the 2015 World University Games team. If a diver who accepts a WUG spot later earns selection in an Olympic event for the World Championships or Pan American Games team, that diver’s WUG spot will be offered to an alternate. Alternates who are eligible for selection will be notified immediately following either the Synchro Nationals in April 2015 or the World Trials in May 2015.


World University Games Websites for more information:

Air and hotel deals for family and friends:

  • Asiana Airlines will have a 20 percent discount for your family and friends wanting to support your team. Contact Asiana Airlines for details. Individual Reservations: 800-227-4262 (LA office open 9-5 p.m.)
  • We have contracted the Hotel Prado in Gwangju to accommodate our team families and fans.  There is a 12-night minimum stay (July 2-14) package that you can reserve a room during the summer games beginning November 5. Link to fan travel packages:


College Bound

The NCAA early signing period for diving runs from November 12-19, 2014 and many divers will be signing their National Letters of Intent throughout the week.

Divers, please let us know where you’ve committed or will be signing. Coaches, let us know who you’ve signed. Please email to be added to the list.

The list below is based on information we’ve seen in news reports, on social media, or in messages sent to USA Diving.

Haley Allen – Ohio State
Alyssa Arnett – UNLV
Matt Aronson – Wisconsin
Sarah Bacon – Minnesota
Damian Becker – Northwestern
Kali Becker – North Carolina
Sarah Blank – Clemson
Emmott Blitch – West Virginia
Marin Bloise – Rutgers
Andrew Bologna – Pennsylvania
Cassidy Bose – Boise State
Raina Brommer – New Mexico State
Jaya Brown – Clemson
Rachel Byrne – Rutgers
Connor Cain – Utah
Matt Casillas – Georgia Tech
Mackenzie Caufield – Utah
Carolyn Chaney – Miami
Lee Christensen – Duke
Joey Cifelli – Purdue
Allison Concepcion – New Mexico
Payton Conrad – Missouri
Jack Crow – Penn State
Erin Cullather – New Hampshire
Collin DeShaw – Michigan
David Dinsmore – Miami
Rebekah Dominik – Nevada
Madison Duvall – Georgia
Zoe Feingold – East Carolina
Lizzie Fitzpatrick – Duke
Kat Friese – UCLA
Chrysoula Gatsios – UNLV
Cassidy Gebhart – Florida State
Kyle Goodwin – Missouri
Shaifali Goyal – UC Davis
Alex Hafey – Wisconsin
Trent Hagenbuch – Pennsylvania
Sophia Heiser – Pennsylvania
Alexa Held – University of San Diego
Hazel Hertting – Wisconsin
Carly Hill – Louisville
Averly Hobbs – West Virginia
Abigail Howell – Florida
Addie Howser – Georgia Southern
Kelsey Jehl – Towson
Madeline Kuhn – Illinois
Phoebe Lamay – Cal Berkeley
Collin Larson – Alabama
Christopher Law – Ohio State
Scott Lazeroff – Auburn
Alan LeBlang – Minnesota
Erin Lee – Clemson
Janelle Lucas – Idaho
Maria Lohman – North Carolina
Ben Magliato – Northwestern
Sara Maleski – North Carolina
Nolan Mallet – Georgia Tech
Margie McCarthy – Alabama
Caroline McCleary – Tulane
Matt McClellan – LSU
Morgan Meixner – Purdue
Harrison Moncino – Miami (Ohio)
Grace Newell – TCU
Janicia Ng – Northwestern
Allyson Nied – South Carolina
Katie Nissle – New Mexico State
Meghan O’Brien – Texas
Ethan O’Neill – Wisconsin
Josh Owsiany – Duke
Taylor Pamplin – Ohio State
Qian Yi Pang – North Carolina
Kirsten Parkinson – Virginia
Talbott Paulsen – Yale
Andrew Pearce – Wisconsin
Ashlynn Peters – Virginia Tech
Matthew Phillip – LSU
Katie Polk – UMass
Estee Pryor – Ohio State
Sofia Rauzi – Texas
Olivia Rosendahl – Northwestern
Katie Rourke – Florida
Rachel Rubadue – Tennessee
Katie Russ – Harvard
Madeline Russell – UCLA
Ben Schiesl – Virginia Tech
Ayaka Schmitz – Louisville
Max Showalter – Purdue
Andrew Shurtleff – TCU
Austin Smith – West Virginia
Samuel Smith – Florida
Shelby Steiger – UNLV
David Thiede – Boston University
Emilee Torres – Towson
Emilie Weideman – Southern California
Mackenzie Willborn – Duke
Indiya Williams – Idaho
Flori Witenstein – Colorado State
Madi Witt – Southern California
Nicholas Woska – Marist

Interested in serving as a USA Diving athlete representative?

Athlete representative elections will be held at the upcoming USA Diving Winter National Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

If you are interested in serving as an athlete rep and would like your name on the ballot, please email no later than December 1.

Six athletes – three men and three women – will be elected.

In order to run for election to serve as an athlete rep, a diver must have finished in the top half of a senior national championship meet held in the past 24 months (2013 AT&T Nationals, 2013 Winter Nationals or 2014 AT&T Nationals) or must have represented the United States at the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games or World Cup (in a non-Olympic year) in the past 10 years.

For more information on the athlete representative committee, please see the following information put together by athlete reps.

What is an athlete representative?

Athlete representatives are elected by their fellow athletes to serve a two-year term as a member of the athlete representative committee. What is the athlete representative committee you might ask? Well, the athlete representative committee is made up of 12 divers, six males and six females. The athlete representative committee acts as a voice on the behalf of all USA Diving athletes.

Six athletes – three males and three females – are elected each year. Cheyenne Cousineau, David Dinsmore, Sam Dorman, Mike Hixon, Emma Ivory-Ganja and Kara McCormack will be in the second year of their two-year term in 2015 and will join the six athletes elected at winter nationals on the committee next year.

What are the responsibilities involved in being an athlete representative?

As an athlete representative, your main responsibility is to communicate effectively with others. This may involve sitting in on conference calls throughout the year with your fellow athlete representatives and thinking of creative things that USA Diving can do to improve your experience as a member, or it may involve conference calls with another USA Diving committee you are assigned to. In addition to communicating, we strive for 100 percent attendance of athlete representatives to the USA Diving convention that is hosted every year in mid-September. All expenses for the convention are paid for. During convention, we attend various different meetings and count as a large percentage of votes in the final general assembly meeting.

What are the qualities that we are looking for in an athlete representative?

We are looking for confident, creative and passionate athletes to become athlete representatives. It is often necessary for us to speak in public or on the phone, so those are two skills that we would love for you to have. The great thing about the athlete representative committee is that everybody who serves has a different background and a different skill set. This allows for us to do many different kinds of projects.

What can you get out of being an athlete representative?

Being an athlete representative is a huge honor. It allows you to give back to a sport that, in my experience, has provided so many amazing opportunities. It will also help to enhance your networking and communication skills as you are exposed to different situations that you would not ordinarily find yourself in in either high school or college. Being an athlete representative will allow a creative outlet to express your ideas to USA Diving, while simultaneously improving the experiences of many other athletes. If that isn’t enough, being an athlete representative looks great on college applications – and resumes when you are looking for a job.

What are the qualifications to become an athlete representative?
In order to serve as an athlete rep, a diver must have finished in the top half of a senior national championship meet held in the past 24 months (2013 AT&T Nationals, 2013 Winter Nationals, or 2014 AT&T Nationals) or must have represented the United States at the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games or World Cup (in a non-Olympic year) in the past 10 years.

Who do I contact if I am interested in nominating myself or another diver for the position of athlete representative?   If you are interested in running or would like to nominate another eligible athlete, please email by December 1.

Toby Stanley takes 10-meter silver at FINA Grand Prix in Malaysia

Toby Stanley (Conway, Ark./Indianapolis, Ind.) won the silver medal in men’s 10-meter as the FINA Malaysia Grand Prix came to a close Sunday in Kuala Lumpur.

Stanley won his first career individual international medal after scoring 456.25 points in the 10-meter final. He opened the finals with 81.60 points on his inward 3 ½ tuck and was solid throughout the contest, scoring no lower than 66 points on any dive and finishing out his list with 84.60 points on his back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists. China’s Hui Liang dominated the contest with 532.30 points for gold, with Malaysia’s Ooi Tze Liang finishing with 448.60 points for bronze.

Zach Cooper (Trafalgar, Ind.), who on Saturday won bronze with Tanner Wilfong in synchronized 10-meter, also competed in the individual 10-meter event but did not advance to the finals. Cooper finished ninth with 344.35 points.

In women’s synchronized 3-meter, Deidre Freeman (Grinnell, Iowa/Iowa City, Iowa) and Maren Taylor (Arlington, Va./Austin, Texas) scored 259.80 points to finish third behind two teams from Malaysia but were awarded the silver medal due to Grand Prix rules that allow the host country to enter two teams although only one can medal. Ng Yan Yee and Nor Dhabitah Sabri won the gold with 274.41 points, while Jasmine Lai Pui Yee and Kam Ling Kar were second with 267.51 points.

Cheyenne Cousineau (Temperance, Mich./Coral Gables, Fla.) and Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) competed together as a synchronized 10-meter team for the first time and finished fourth with 240.84 points but picked up the bronze medal because two Malaysian teams finished in the top three. China’s Ji Siyu and Si Yajie scored 332.70 for the gold, while Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Joong won silver with 327.84 points. Dhabitah and Loh Zhiayi finished with 293.67 points for third.


Cooper and Wilfong win 10-meter synchro bronze at Malaysia Grand Prix

  Zach Cooper (Trafalgar, Ind.) and Tanner Wilfong (Hershey, Pa./Coral Gables, Fla.) finished third in men’s synchronized 10-meter to lead Team USA with a bronze medal Saturday at the FINA Malaysia Grand Prix meet in Kuala Lumpur.

Also on Saturday, Sam Dorman (Tempe, Ariz./Coral Gables, Fla.) and Dwight Dumais (Ventura, Calif./Austin, Texas) placed fourth in men’s synchronized 3-meter, while Maren Taylor (Arlington, Va./Austin, Texas) was the top finisher for the U.S. women after placing sixth in the individual 3-meter event.

Cooper and Wilfong, competing in their first international meet together, scored 348.57 points in the synchronized 10-meter contest to finish third behind China’s Zhang Yangquan and Chen Aisen (448.89) and Malaysia’s Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yi Wei (386.55). The Americans scored between 63.36 and 68.31 points on all four of their optional dives, with their best score coming on their back 3 ½ tuck in round five.

Dorman and Dumais finished with 377.52 points in their first 3-meter synchro event together. They scored more than 80 points on both their front 2 ½ with 2 twists and reverse 1 ½ with 3 ½ twists, but a miss for just 49.35 points on their reverse 3 ½ tuck in round five kept them out of the medal hunt. China’s Li Shixin and He Chao won gold with 441.54 points, while Malaysia’s Tze Liang and Ahmad Amsyar Azman were second at 414.45. Colombia’s Sebastian Villa and Sebastian Morales took the bronze with 399.87.

Taylor scored 276.70 points to finish sixth in the women’s 3-meter final, which was won by China’s Wang Han with 362.50 points. Liu Huixia, also of China, scored 351.60 points for silver, and Malaysia’s Cheong Jun Hoong won bronze with 339.00 points. Laura Ryan (Elk River, Minn./Athens, Ga.) also competed for the U.S. but did not advance to the finals. She finished seventh overall after placing fourth with 259.10 points in her semifinal.

The Malaysia Grand Prix concludes Sunday with men’s individual 10-meter as well as both women’s synchronized events.

Katrina Young places fifth to lead Team USA on day one of Malaysia Grand Prix

Competition at the FINA Malaysia Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur began Friday with four divers in action for Team USA.

Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) led the way with a fifth-place finish in the women’s 10-meter contest, while Sam Dorman (Tempe, Ariz./Coral Gables, Fla.) was the top finisher for the U.S. men after placing seventh in the 3-meter event.

Young scored 284.85 points to finish fifth in the 10-meter final, led by 72 points on her front 3 ½ pike and 70.40 points on her back 2 ½ with a ½ twists.

China took the top two spots, with Ren Qian scoring 427.80 points for gold and 2013 world champion Si Yajie taking the silver at 385.80. Malaysia’s 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Pandelela Rinong won the Grand Prix bronze with 354.00 in her home country.

Cheyenne Cousineau (Temperance, Mich./Coral Gables, Fla.) also advanced to the women’s platform finals and finished sixth with 246.35 points.

Dorman narrowly missed a spot in the 3-meter finals, finishing seventh overall with 376.25 points. He was fourth in semifinal B, just .35 points behind Colombia’s Sebastian Morales, but only the top three divers from each of the two semifinals advanced to the finals. Aaron Fleshner (Spring, Texas/Tuscaloosa, Ala.) also competed for the U.S. and finished 11th overall and sixth in semifinal B with 310.40 points.

China’s Li Shixin scored 510.70 points in the finals to win gold. Malaysia’s Ooi Tze Liang was second at 461.05, and China’s He Chao took home bronze with 440.65 points.

The Malaysia Grand Prix continues through Sunday, October 26. Saturday’s competition features individual women’s 3-meter and both men’s synchronized events.

USA Diving to offer domestic judges and officials certification course

USA Diving is pleased to announce the development of a Domestic Officials and Judges Certification Course.  This course will educate and train an individual in judging diving fairly, neutrally and without bias, as well as train individuals as meet officials/referees.  By using the current FINA Judges School curriculum in this class, it is assured that persons who successfully complete and pass the course will have a consistent and systematic approach to judging diving.  This unified approach will allow consistency among all judges and officials.

The first course will be held December 15-17, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio in conjunction with the 2014 USA Diving Winter National Championships.

The course is three full days.  Day one will be spent focusing on areas of the FINA Manual that an official must know.  There will also be video analysis and discussions.  Days two and three will be spent shadowing judging the events at the national championships.  There will be meetings before and after each time an individual shadow judges.  An official observer will work with the shadow judges in evaluating their performance.  Upon completion of day three, each attendee will receive a performance evaluation.  To successfully pass the certification process, a score of 85 percent or better on the written test and a composite percentage score of 90 percent  from shadow judging must be achieved. USA Diving strongly believes this program will greatly enhance the quality and the professionalism of judging in the United States.

Complete Course Schedule
The course will begin at 9 a.m., Monday, December 15 with classroom lectures, video analysis and discussion, and will conclude at the end of competition on December 17th (course participants will be shadow-judging competition).

The fee for the course is $25/participant and space is limited to the first 25 participants. Space will be available on a first come, first serve basis, with registration closing December 8. Please register for the course by logging into your USA Diving membership account and completing the required information and payment. ***PLEASE NOTE: to participate in the class, you MUST be a CURRENT USA Diving member.***

Attendees will be responsible for their own expenses (including transportation, housing and meals) to attend the USA Diving Judges Certification Course. Hotel options at the USA Diving discounted rate are available here.

You will be notified upon receipt of registration with confirmation of your registration or placed on the wait list by USA Diving.

We look forward to your participation.



Burke and Rittenhouse win bronze in 3-meter synchro at Pan American Festival

Ariel Rittenhouse (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Amanda Burke (Southampton, Pa./State College, Pa.) won the bronze medal in synchronized 3-meter Tuesday at the Pan American Sports Festival in Mexico City.

Rittenhouse and Burke scored 282.90 points for the bronze while competing in their first international meet together as a synchro team. Canada’s Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware finished with 312.60 points for gold, and Mexico’s Arantxa Chavez and Dolores Hernandez were second with 289.80 points.

Also Tuesday, Mark Anderson (Lake Forest, Calif./Austin, Texas) and Toby Stanley (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 366.00 points to finish fifth in men’s synchronized 10-meter. Cuba’s Jose Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre were first with 442.08 points, and Mexico’s Jonathan Ruvalcaba and Diego Balleza scored 420.03 points for the silver. Canada’s Philippe Gagne and Vincent Riendeau were third with 385.14 points.

On Monday, Cory Bowersox (Burke, Va./Austin, Texas) and Zac Nees (Hatfield, Pa./State College, Pa.) finished fourth in men’s synchronized 3-meter. The duo scored 365.43 points, 6.99 points behind bronze medalists Jorge Pupo and Rene Hernandez of Cuba. Mexico’s Rommel Pacheco and Rodrigo Diego won gold at 419.40, with silver going to Canada’s Francois Imbeau-Dulac and Philippe Gagne with 385.20 points.

In Monday’s women’s synchronized 10-meter contest, Olivia Rosendahl (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Rachel Rubadue (Columbus, Ohio) were fourth with 253.62 points. Canada’s Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito topped the field with 294.33 points, while the Mexican pair of Alejandra Estrella Madrigal and Gabriela Agundez scored 282.54 points for silver. Brazil’s Ingrid Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso took bronze with 262.20 points.

USA Diving announces roster for FINA Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur

USA Diving has announced its team of 11 athletes that will compete at the FINA Grand Prix meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Competition is set for October 24-26.

The following divers will represent Team USA at the FINA Grand Prix meet in Malaysia:

Name                                     Event(s) 
Zach Cooper                         10-meter, 10-meter synchro
Cheyenne Cousineau         10-meter
Sam Dorman                         3-meter
Dwight Dumais                     3-meter synchro
Aaron Fleshner                     3-meter, 3-meter synchro
Deidre Freeman                   3-meter synchro
Laura Ryan                            3-meter
Toby Stanley                         10-meter
Maren Taylor                        3-meter, 3-meter synchro
Tanner Wilfong                    10-meter synchro
Katrina Young                      10-meter

Coaches: Dario DiFazio, Pat Greenwell