Following his final event of the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships Wednesday in Knoxville, University of Tennessee senior Jordan Mauney climbed on top of the 10-meter platform deck with his family as a farewell ritual sometimes typical in diving.
The 2009 Baylor School graduate was way up in the air physically at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, but not emotionally. His 257.20 points over six dives in the preliminaries of the 10-meter platform an hour or so earlier put him in 15th place and kept him out of the finals.
However, although he had missed out on his last chance to qualify for the NCAA championships and go to Indianapolis later this month with his teammates, he was still thankful for the cities far and wide he was able to visit through the sport.
“Diving has taken me to places I’ve never been before and to people I never thought I would meet,” he said after coming back down on the pool deck. “It’s given me a lot.”
The former state high school meet record holder has also traveled far vertically with his diving after focusing more on springboard on the junior level, he added.
“I never thought I would be doing the dives I did here,” he said. “To end my career here, with a full 10-meter list, I credit everything to coach (Dave) Parrington.”
Coach Parrington, in turn, is thankful for Mr. Mauney’s contributions, even though he was disappointed he did not advance to the NCAAs along with fellow Tennessee divers Tori Lamp, Jodie McGroarty and Brent Sterling.
“He’s never made the NCAA championships, but he’s been a good scorer for us on the SEC level,” he said. “He’s given us everything he’s got.”
Coach Parrington added that Mr. Mauney is the epitome of the student-athlete, including by being heavily involved in community service work at UT.
Mr. Mauney, the son of Mike and Meg Mauney of Signal Mountain, early on never pictured himself as a UT diver and community delver. The reason was that he grew up as a University of South Carolina sports fan.
“I never wanted to come to Tennessee before I was recruited,” he said with a laugh. “But I knew I wanted to do the 10-meter. And after they built this facility and after I talked to Dave, it was a done deal.”
He said that he has been helped greatly by the easily approachable Coach Parrington, who grew up in Zimbabwe and was on its Olympic team.
“He was a diver himself, and he has had so much past success with world champions,” he said. “I feel like he’s been in it for so long. He has that certain eye.”
Mr. Mauney also credits the support and help of his former Baylor diving coach John Bonds. Under his coaching, Mr. Mauney was able in 2009 to break the state prep meet record that had been held for 26 years.
In fact, coach Bonds was on hand for his final competitions in the Zone B championships.
“It was very neat to have your high school coach here to see how you grow over the last four years,” Mr. Mauney said.
Mr. Mauney’s best finish of the week competing against collegians throughout the Southeast was seventh place in the 3-meter with 667.15 points over 12 dives. On Monday, he came in 14th with 575.55 points in the 1-meter.
After graduating this May with an accounting degree and a minor in finance, he plans to enter the accounting master’s program at UT and continue working with numbers.
While the scoring numbers did not quite result in Mr. Mauney making the NCAAs his senior year, his four years of competing at UT have added up to many rewards, he added.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for my last four years here,” he said.