When walking by the Koch pool, you would likely see a young diver bouncing ten feet off of the board. He is performing his favorite dive; the “three and one-half tuck flip.” He flips three times before hitting the water and makes it look easy. Taylor Clough, a freshmen diver from Westin, MA, already appears to be a strong asset to the Deerfield diving team.
Clough started diving when he was nine-years-old at his summer country club. As his interest in the sport increased, he started to dive year-round in the Boston area. “At home, I put in about twenty hours a week and nearly four-hundred crunches per day,” said Clough.
Last year, he finished second at the Massachusetts state championship diving meet and eighth place in an international meet held in Canada. He has also received All-American status, which is given to the top one-hundred divers in the country. So far, Clough has been to eleven national events, competing on the one meter and three meter boards, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“I almost quit when I was twelve because I didn’t like my coach. But with encouragement from my dad I stuck with it and I’m thankful for it.”
Clough has an unusual approach to the dive, which he learned from a Chinese Olympian. This approach helps lighter divers get just as high off the board as more heavy-set divers. “It is unique but he pulls it off,” said teammate Georgina Hutchins ’12 on Clough’s unorthodox technique.
His approach, although accepted in national meets, is unique in the NEPSSA league (New England Prep School Swimming and Diving). Many of the NEPSSA officials question its validity and have deducted points because of it.
Clough had the opportunity to attend an Olympic development program where he could have pursued Olympic dreams. Instead, he decided to come to Deerfield where he could focus more on academics. Had he stayed at his old public school, Clough would have gone to “two practices a day and would have skipped school to attend national and regional meets.”
So far, the rest of the diving team has embraced Clough not only as a good teammate, but another coach.
“It is helpful to have a teammate who is my age with such high caliber. It’s almost like having a second coach to help me out when Head Coach Mary Ellen Clark isn’t there. He definitely takes some of the pressure off,” said Kellam Witherington ’12.
Although the boys’ swim team lost nine team members at the end of last season, Clough will help the boys in their season where they hope to defend their New England title.