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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 21Jun00

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 Florida.

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."


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