Arizona divers Ben Grado and Samantha Pickens travel to Federal Way, Wash. to compete in the 2012 Olympic Diving Trials this week.
With the Diving Olympic trials right around the corner, Arizona diver Ben Grado has high hopes to become a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic diving team.
Became the first diver in Arizona history to win a national title with his win on the platform at the NCAA Championships...Won all three boards at the Pac-12 Championships for the first time since 2002.
2011-12: Named Pac-12 Diver of the Year...Named Pac-12 Diver of the Month for November...Received Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention accolades...Finished in ninth-place on the 1m and 3m at the NCAA Championships...Won all three boards at the Pac-12 Championships.
2011 Summer: Finished third on the 10m, fourth on the 1m, eighth on the 3m and was high-point winner at the ATT USA Diving Championships, qualifying him for the Olympic Trials in June of 2012...Earned a sixth-place finish on the 3m at winter nationals in Iowa.
2010: Was named an All-American after earning a sixth-place finish on the 3-meter at the NCAA Championships.
2009: Finished in third place on the 1m at the USA summer national meet in Florida.
2008: Was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year
High School: Graduated from Conifer High School...Was named team captain and Most Valuable Player...Was All-Conference and All-State his senior year.
Personal: Son of Santiago and Loriann Grado...Is the youngest of three with one brother and one sister...In addition to diving, participated in wrestling in high school...plans to apply for Cirque du Soleil after graduation, before going to nursing school.
Career Ambition: Pediatric nurse
Spends free time: Watching movies, hanging out with friends, listening to music
Why Arizona: I think, what makes the team so special is how we are just that, a team. Having not only the 5 or 6 other diving members rooting you on yet 30 more of the swim team members just makes the experience so much better because you have that extra boost to make you not only perform better but just do/be better overall.
Five years ago, I made the decision to come to Arizona for diving and school. To this day, I regret nothing. On my recruiting trip, I saw a team full of passion, dedication, and determination, all things I wanted to be apart of. Being able to take part on this team has taught me so much that I will never forget.
2009 NCAA Top Finishes:
1-Meter 15th 339.55 Honorable Mention
Platform 16th 337.90 Honorable Mention
363.50 - Platform - Pac-10