June 15, 2012
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. With years of experience, Grado’s past season has put him in the running for a spot to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials, taking place June 17-24.
In March, Grado became the first male diver at the University of Arizona to win an NCAA championship title after posting a 487.25 on the platform board. Grado says that having the title under his belt has motivated him to prepare for trials.
“I do have a pretty good shot at the Olympics,” Grado said. “I feel really good about my physicality and feel about the best I ever have.”
Grado sees being in the heat of competition as a benefit.
“My performance is only going to improve,” Grado said. “I’m ready to do what I’ve been training to do.”
Becoming a member of a U.S. Olympic team has always been a dream for the NCAA champion. From a young age, it was his dream to go to the Olympics.
But whether he makes the team or not, he has fulfilled what he put out to do.
“I’ve made trials and I’m going,” Grado said. “It’s a goal accomplished. I’m honored to be a part of this.”
Feeling confident and ready, Grado’s ultimate goal going into trials is to make it in the top four.
“If I’m within the top four, I feel like I did what I went there to do,” Grado said. “Icing on the cake would be to place in the top three.”
More than anything, Grado’s ultimate hope is to enjoy himself while experiencing the trials, a truly unique experience.
“No matter the outcome, just being there is something to be proud of,” Grado said. “I want to have fun and just do what I’ve been training to do.”
The Olympic trials will be the final competitive diving meet of Grado’s roller-coaster career. Although there is still the option of training again for the 2016 Olympic trials, he plans to continue his career with Cirque de Soleil.
“It’s exciting, yet saddening,” Grado said. “I’m finally getting to the prime of my diving career, but I’ve been diving for five years and this is something new and exciting.”
Having been a part of a nationally recognized swim and dive program at Arizona, Grado’s experience here has prepared him for everything.
“Mentally, I have grown up so much, as a person and diver.” Grado said. “Physically, my body is the competitive diver and performer I need to be.”
With his career at Arizona at its end, Grado’s experience has led him to thank Arizona for allowing him to be on his way to fulfilling his dream to the Olympics.