Carroll Diver Heading to Duke, Looks Toward 2020 Olympics
Apr 20, 2016 06:38AM ● Published by Kevin
Carroll Diver Nate Hernandez winning district for the third year in a row. Photo courtesy of Carroll Diving Coach Carolyn Hryorchuk.
Gallery: Nate Hernandez - Dragon Pride, Spring 2016 [10 Images] Click any image to expand.
Hernandez graudates in the top 7.52 percent of his classmates (46th out of 625 students), academically. He will dive at Duke University, starting in the fall 2016.
"Nate is such a blessing to coach," Hryorchuk said. "Each day at practice he gives his all, which sets a precedent for the whole team. Nate's positive attitude, with a huge great smile, makes for the ideal athlete to coach. His talent and willingness to learn new dives has been able to land him the National High School All-American Title for 2015. He is a class act on and off the diving board."
The two have known each other since Hernandez was in kindergarten; however, Hernandez didn't start his diving career until 2008, just after the Beijing Olympics.
"My mom and I thought it would be fun to try since I already had a gymnastics background," he said. "I was in gymnastics for four years prior. I ended up improving much faster at diving than gymnastics, and I loved my team, so I ended up quitting gymnastics after my first year to start diving six days a week."
Fast forward two years later, and Hernandez was already participating in his first national competition in Minneapolis.
"I think that was my first moment when I thought how cool and exciting the sport was; how I first thought I could be doing this sport for a really long time," he said, but not without some hesitation in the back of his mind.
"In middle school, I did have some tough moments and thought about quitting, but I think everyone does at that age. It's a natural part of growing up, but I'm so glad that I stuck with it. I love my sport and can't begin to imagine how my life would have been different had I not continued to dive."
The list of accomplishments is impressive (see below), but among his favorites are winning state as a junior in 2015, and his very first "10" at the 2011 Winter National competition in Lubbock.
"I told myself, 'just do your best,' because I did not think that I was going to win," he explained. "I had the meet of my life and went on the win the competition, earning the state champion title. I was so incredibly thrilled. There's a video that our team videographer took and there's this moment where I am standing next to Coach Hryorchuk staring at the scoreboard, and when it showed my scores and dive total, showing that I was in first place after the competition was over, and the biggest smile is plastered on my face, and I'm surprised I didn't start crying, because I was just overwhelmed with emotion."
He decided to use footage from that competition to submit to NISCA All-American, and was named the 2014-2015 High School Diving National Champion of the season that year.
Aside from diving, Hernandez also values community service, logging more than 120 hours with organizations like National Charity League, Inc., Southlake Chapter; the City of Southlake Chamber of Commerce; and Rockenbaugh and Walnut Grove elementary schools.
"It's all about giving back," he said. "One thing that Southlake adopted long ago was Rachel's Challenge, and it was instilled in me as a young Dragon to start a chain reaction and be the change you wish to see in the world. The Southlake community has taught me how and why to be concerned about the wellbeing of others, and that's something I would love to teach the youth of today."
Hernandez is grateful for the opportunities the city and community has presented to him.
"I actually think that I saw something on Facebook recently showing that Southlake had been named one of the top 50 'charitable' cities," he said. "I think that's a fair statement. Everyone in Southlake is very much concerned with the welfare of the entire community, and that's something I want to take with me to my new community."
His next stop is Duke Unviersity, which he said he instantly knew would be his choice of colleges if they'd have him, after he saw the campus and bonded with the swimming and diving teams.
"That was something that was very important to me in the process, because you train with these athletes multiple hours a day, and they become your support system and your family," he said.
He looks to major in chemistry with a concentration in pharmacology. His career aspirations are to work in the drug industry in research and development. He was happy with the quality of Duke's academic program in those concentrations, and could truly see himself a Blue Devil.
"...a piece of advice I was taught during the recruiting process was that you have to think, 'If I was injured and could never dive again, would I be happy here?' I know that is case with Duke University," he said.
Hernandez attributed much of his success to his family and looks ahead for many more accomplishments to come.
"I would like to thank my incredible family, for sacrificing so much to let me do the sport that I love," he said. "The opportunities that they have granted me are priceless, and with them I have been able to travel all across the country making enough memories to last me a lifetime."
We asked Hernandez some extra questions about his time in Southlake. Here's where he stood...
Hernandez's List of Accomplishments
Carroll Senior High School Class of 2016
- Distinguished Achievement Program and Success Scholar
- 100+ Hours of community service
- National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP Scholar)
- Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) (2015-2016)
- National Honor Society (2014-2016)
- 4.0 GPA (100.411 Weighted Average)
- Class Rank: 46 out of 625 (Top 7.52%)
- ACT Composite: 33 Sat Total: 1990
High School Diving (2012-2016)
- 2016 NISCA Academic All-American
- 2016 NISCA All-American Diver
- 2016 Texas UIL 6A State Champion (Male Diver of the Meet; First Dragon Diver to win State back-to-back)
- 2016 Regional Champion (Male Diver of the Meet)
- 2016 District Champion (Male Diver of the Meet)
- New Carroll Dragon 6 Dive Pool/Team Record (361.10 Points)
- 2015-2016 Men’s Swimming/Diving Team Captain
- 2015 TISCA Champion
- 2015 NISCA All-American Diver
- 2014-2015 NISCA National Champion
- 2015 Texas UIL 6A State Champion (2nd Highest State Meet Score of All Time [613.75]; Behind #1 Bryce Klein, Southlake Carroll Alumni)
- 2015 Regional Champion
- 2015 District Champion
- 2014-2015 Men’s Swimming and Diving Captain
- 2014 TISCA Champion
- 2014 NISCA All-American Diver
- 2014 Texas UIL 5A State Bronze Medalist
- 2014 Regional Champion
- 2014 District Champion
- 2013 TISCA Champion
- 2013 NISCA All American Diver
- 2013 Regional Bronze Medalist
- 2013 District Silver Medalist
Club Diving Highlights (2008-2016)
- Potential Olympic Trial Qualifier (Know on Friday April 8, 2016)
- 2015 USA Diving Junior National Finalist (Platform)
- 2015 USA Diving Senior National Qualifier
- 2015 USA Diving Synchronized Nationals Finalist
- 2013 USA Diving Junior National Silver Medalist (1m and 3m)
- 2013 USA Diving Senior National Qualifier (First Time to Qualify)
- 2011 Hilton HHonors Junior West National Champion (3m)
- 2010 USA Diving Junior National Finalist (First Time to qualify)
- Duke University (2016-2020), Swimming and Diving Team
- Olympic Trials 2016
- Tokyo Olympics 2020