Now a Big East champion in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, freshman Nick Nemetz is accomplishing goals that no freshman diver has ever achieved for the Irish.
Nemetz has earned the distinction of being the first Notre Dame diver to sweep the diving events at the Big East championships as a freshman. He is the second Irish diver ever to do so. Thanks to this sweep, the freshman has also been named Big East Men's Most Outstanding Diver of the Year.
"It felt great winning those events," Nemetz said. "I wasn't really expecting it, so it came as a surprise. I didn't really have any goals coming in. I was just trying to perform my dives and have a good personal meet."
Nemetz said his breakout conference meet was the outcome of the increased time and intensity he has devoted to practice.
"It's the first time I've been this serious about diving," Nemetz said. "My high school practices were nothing compared to how hard I train here."
Nemetz was a three-time All-American for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in Mich., and competed at Junior Nationals before his senior year. Growing up 10 minutes from the campus of the University of Michigan, Nemetz says he came to Notre Dame because he wanted a change. Coming from Ann Arbor, Mich. to Notre Dame is something Nemetz takes flack for both at home and at school.
"I get [heat] from both spots," Nemetz said. "My teammates make fun of me here for coming from Michigan. At home, they make fun of me for coming to Notre Dame."
Nemetz says joking around with his teammates help him keep loose and relaxed.
"With the whole team, we basically joke a lot," Nemetz said. "We're not real serious, and we're pretty laid back. Everyone handles stress differently, but it helps me stay positive."
With NCAA Zone Diving championships beginning in March, Nemetz will look to channel that positivity into continued success.
"I have a few more dives I'm trying to get into my program before NCAA Zones," Nemetz said. "I'm happy with this season, but I hope to keep improving."
This comes as no surprise from the versatile diver, who said earning new dives is his favorite aspect of the sport for the feeling of accomplishment he feels when the dive is mastered.
"It's a great feeling," Nemetz said. " It kind of shows how hard work pays off. When you add a flip or twist, you feel accomplished."
With three years of college diving in front of him, Nemetz has high hopes for the future.
"I hope to go to NCAA Nationals," Nemetz said. "I don't know if I can make it this year because we have a strong zone, but within a few years, I should be making it."
Nemetz, along with his teammates junior Ryan Koter and freshmen Michael Kreft and Ted Wagner, will compete at the NCAA Zone Diving championships beginning March 9.
Contact Jonathan Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org