Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Diver Routson Faces Olympic Trials This Week
Orange co CA Register 21Jun00 S2
By Dan Albano: Orange County Register
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA -- LDS Diver Tyce Routson believes he has a shot
at the Olympics and will try to get it during this week's Olympic Trials in
Federal Way, Washington. Routson, 23, is a returned missionary and High
diver from Orange County who is a student at the University of Miami in
Routson may have already faced more difficult trials in his life. Six months
ago, the four-time NCAA champion hit his head on the springboard during a
practice in Miami. He cut a semicircular gash in his scalp that stretched
from the crown of his head to the back, requiring 25 staples to close. "You
almost scalped yourself," the emergency room doctor told Routson.
It took him a month to return to the springboard and seven weeks to return
to the platform. But he did return to training full time. "That takes a lot
of will power and strength," said Routson's mother, Fran.
Routson credits his LDS mission to Argentina for giving him the composure
and perspective to handle the injury well. "You grow personally," Routson
said of his mission. "I took the accident for what it was ... and told
myself not to do it again ... I'm a different person than I was three years
ago." In addition to the typical duties of an LDS missionary, Routson was
able to teach children English and helped rescue residents from their homes
during a flood. Of course, following the mission rules, Routson didn't get
in a pool once.
While he was gone, he disappeared from the memory of those in competition
for the Olympics. He had placed sixth on the platform in at the 1996 Olympic
trials. Other divers solidified their status for the Olympics, making it
more difficult for Routson to make the team. "I'm sure they forgot about
me," said Routson.
And when he returned from his mission, it took some time to get back into
diving. After a while, he returned to the form that won him the NCAA
platform title in 1995 and both NCAA titles in 1997. Following the accident
last December, Tyce added a fourth NCAA title in March, on the platform again.
At this week's trials, Routson faces tough competition. A total of 23 men,
including 16-time national champion Mark Ruiz and 1996 Olympian David
Pichler, will try for between two and four spots on the diving team headed
to Sydney, Australia. The trials are being held at the Weyerhaeuser King
County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.
His coach, Randy Ableman of the University of Miami, is confident that he
can make the team. "Tyce can do it," he said. "[He's a] Tough kid. Tyce has
a good chance."