It’s all in the family for Gamecock Diver and Coach

South Carolina Certified Diver Brooke Schultz is no stranger to success, but she is making a name for herself in a short time as a Gamecock, and having her father, Dale, here as a coach makes it even better. Sharing this segment of their life is special for both of them.

“He has this tough exterior, but every time I win an event he starts crying or showing his emotions, which is really cool,” Brooke said. “As soon as the last dive is over and the results are out, he’s there to give me a big hug. It’s really nice.”

“I’m grateful every day that I can do this,” said three-time SEC Diving Coach of the Year Dale, who coached college scuba for more than 30 years, having worked in Arkansas (1989-2000 , 2008-13, 2016-21), Florida (2014-16) and Purdue (1988-89).

Brooke graduated from Arkansas in December and came to Colombia in January, not only because Dale came from the Razorback program last May, but also because she wanted to get her master’s degree in sports management in South Carolina after having earned his undergraduate degree in business management in Fayetteville.

“The combination of my dad coming here and having this program available, it was just the perfect storm,” Brooke said.

“It was the right decision for me because I had coached with (the South Carolina head coach) Jeff Poppell before,” Dale said. “I knew he was going to do a great job, and I wanted to be a part of it. The other side of the coin was that the school is one of the best in the country when it comes to sports management, and that’s something Brooke wanted to get into, so it was a good fit for both of us. “

Brooke was a two-time SEC Diver of the year (2018, 2019) at Arkansas and was the 2018 NCAA champion in three-meter diving. She also made trips to the NCAA Championships in 2019 where she placed second in the three-meter dive and in 2021 where she placed third in the one-meter dive. One of the constants in her life was being coached by her father.

“He started coaching me when I was nine,” said Brooke, who still has two years of eligibility thanks to a redshirt year as well as the lost season since the COVID pandemic began. -19. “I started gymnastics, then I quit. I said I would never be a diver, but here we are!

“When she won the NCAA and they put a microphone in my face, I cried like a baby. It was in daddy mode, of course.”
Dale Schultz

“The best part is how we’ve had the opportunity to travel the world together for competitions. These are experiences we wouldn’t have had if the diving hadn’t been there. The hard part is that as many that you don’t want (diving) to go home with you, you do. It was harder when I was younger and I had a bad day and had to go home, but if I had a good day, then that was really good. Now obviously we don’t live together.”

“The hard part is you have the nerves of a parent because you want to see your child do well,” Dale said. “I only have one person to blame if she’s not well, and that’s me. The best part is we’re doing this together. We’re traveling all over the world together.

Dale and Brooke Schultz
“When she won the NCAA and they put a microphone in my face, I cried like a baby. It was in daddy mode, of course.”

Neither Brooke nor Dale had too much trouble adjusting to their new schedule. Brooke has been named SEC Diver of the Week twice since joining the team in January. She swept the springboard events in the Gamecocks’ meeting against Missouri in January while earning NCAA Zone qualifying scores in both events. She’s not done there as she won the springboard titles at the SEC championships in Knoxville earlier this month with victories in the one- and three-meter dives. It was the third time she won SEC gold, having done so twice while competing for Arkansas in 2018 and 2019.

“The tricky part of diving is you have the whole season to dive and get the zone to meet,” Brooke said. “Then you have a meeting to make nationals. I feel like the zones are more stressful than the NCAAs. Once I get into the NCAAs, I feel like the one of many there.”

“I had a lot of brains from other great coaches to choose from with her,” Dale said. “She’s had the luxury of having not only myself, but several other people who coach elsewhere. She’s been determined and she’s a hard worker.”

Even with these accomplishments, there were still some adjustments to be made to change schools.

“I think the biggest adjustment was coming right in the middle of the year,” Brooke said. “South Carolina’s swim and dive team is maybe twice the size of Arkansas’. So, I walked into a locker room where I didn’t know anyone. It can be a bit daunting, but over the season i got to know the girls, and going to the SEC was really great!

“It was really cool and so different. I really liked the campus and the team. In Arkansas we didn’t have a men’s team, so training with men was different again, but it is really fun. I think it’s helped me a lot. There are more people to push you, and it brings a different dynamic to training by not just having women in training.

“She didn’t know the fight song the first night she won here,” Dale said with a laugh. “But she accepted the changes. She is delighted to be here.”

Swimming and diving student-athletes spend long hours in the pool and have to balance a lot of training with their academic activities.

“I think the mornings are the hardest part because we have the 6:30 a.m. practices every day,” Brooke said. “You have to find a way to balance school, diving and the ‘other’ times. I really love what I do. It’s fun and it’s challenging. It’s also so rewarding. opportunity to travel the world is something I wouldn’t have without diving. I’ve been to so many cool places because of it. College season can be long, but going to meetups, seeing people you know is great. I have friends in schools in almost every conference across the country.

She will later compete at the World Championships in Budapest in June and already has a long list of achievements in international competition. She won gold at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships in one-meter and three-meter diving and silver in three-meter diving at the 2017 World University Games. In 2018, she was named a member of the of the World Cup and won a bronze medal at the FINA Grand Prix in Bolanzo. Schultz also competed at the 2020 Olympic Team Trials where she placed sixth on the three-metre springboard.

When not in the pool, Brooke enjoys exploring Columbia with her golden retriever, Dodger. For now, she is focused on her attempt to return to the NCAA championships, and her father/coach will be there by her side.

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