March 17, 2014
By Marya Fratoni
STORRS, Conn. - The 2013-14 UConn men’s and women’s diving season came to a close last week following the NCAA Zone A Championships at Virginia Tech. Prior to the meet, UConn diving coach John Bransfield took some time to reflect on the season and talk about how proud he was to have coached such a great group of people.
On the men’s side, senior Anthony Cortright (Wallingford, Conn.) wrapped up an impressive three-year career at UConn, after transferring his freshman year. He had no diving experience prior to joining the team but his wrestling and gymnastics background served him well on the board as well as his outstanding work ethic.
“He has not disappointed,” said Bransfield. “He has steadily improved and he works really, really hard. He’s focused. He respects the sport and he really takes pride in what he does.”
Sophomore John Brice (Bala Cynwood, Pa.) came into UConn with a lot of talent and had to buy in to make difficult changes in his diving game. However, he has showed Bransfield that he has what it takes to become a truly great asset.
“He’s got a great sixth sense, the kinesthetic awareness—the ability to sense where he is at any point in time, particularly at big dives,” Bransfield said. “He has a knack at finding it to the water and does a great job.”
Freshman Spencer Beaulieu (Portland, Conn.), the final member of the men’s team, was a walk-on who has improved tremendously throughout the season and even scored points for the team in the conference championships.
“He picks up things that sometimes you have to repeat season after season to athletes,” Bransfield said. “He’s very sharp, clever and self-motivated.”
This season’s women’s diving team, made up of one sophomore and four freshmen, was extremely young, though Bransfield embraced the challenge of getting them ready for competition. He needed to have a lot of energy to make sure they understood everything he taught them, and seeing the improvement of his team throughout the season was very rewarding.
Sophomore Taryn Urbanus (Quincy, Mass.) had a noteworthy performance this season at the conference meet when she won the 3-meter board event. She shook off early feelings of doubt and shocked herself and others in her ability toward the end of the season.
“For her to do what she’s done in a three-month period of time is amazing,” Bransfield said. “The physical skills had already been shaping, but what came up with in her gut is what makes it all worth it.”