Cougar of the Week: 11/20

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Photo: Jonathan Edelman

Photo: Jonathan Edelman

Steven Castiglione (’18) has competed in less than five events as a diver for Clark, but has already set the Clark record for highest score on the 1-meter board against Babson on October 1. He is undefeated.

Scarlet: So, congrats on the new record.

Castiglione: Thanks, everything was right that meet. I was very nervous, actually, because it was the first meet in which I had to go up against someone, and they had been diving in college for four years, so I was scared. But it was a good meet. The judges were very generous, but I was on point with what I do.


Scarlet: Which dives helped you set the record?

Castiglione: [On] my forward one and a half somersault pike I got a nine out of ten, and my forward two somersaults pike, I got a couple nines on.


Scarlet: Were you more or less nervous after those dives?

Castiglione: More nervous. I didn’t realize I got the nines until halfway through when someone told me, so that really got my nerves going. It’s just, you don’t really see them that often, so it’s kind of nerve racking.


Scarlet: It must not help nerves that diving is one of the later events, too.

Castiglione: Actually it’s right in the middle of the other events, and it doesn’t help that everything is dead silent and everyone is staring at you. But when you’re on the board, everything just fades away and you get in the zone.


Scarlet: How did the last meet against Bridgewater State go for you?

Castiglione: This last meet against Bridgewater State, I slipped off the board because it was very slippery. I still competed and ended up winning my events, but [I] had never hit the board before, so it was just scary.


Scarlet: What’s the hardest part about diving?

Castiglione: Just being on the board. It’s weird to think that, but the hardest part is that you have to think through your whole dive. One small mistake, and you could land in a funny way and you could break your arm, or break your neck. And knowing that, you can’t be afraid to get on the board. You just gotta keep going. When I’m on the board and I’m really scared, I think, “Well, the worst thing that can happen is you die.”


Scarlet: That doesn’t sound like it would help calm your nerves.

Castiglione: It does, though.


Scarlet: Okay, so it just gives you a sense of detachment? I understand. How did you get into diving?

Castiglione: I didn’t like swimming, and I thought, “I still want to be on a team,” and I was pretty good at doing flips, so I started diving my sophomore year of high school. I was shit, so I went to a training camp over the summer. And then my junior year I went to States, and my senior year I ranked in the top six of high school divers in Southern Connecticut.


Scarlet: Any particular reasons why you were so good at flips?

Castiglione: Well, I did have a trampoline, and I always would be on that.


Scarlet: So you must be used to getting hurt while trying to flip, then.

Castiglione: (Laughs) Oh, yeah. Once, I tried do a flip off the trampoline onto the ground, and I landed on my back.


Scarlet: Oof, yeah. I tried that once, but I needed to get an old mattress from my attic to land on to muster up the confidence to land on the ground.

Castiglione: Yeah. I also did some gymnastics, not enough to call myself a gymnast, but I’ve always been flexible, which helps.


Scarlet: What are practices like being the only male diver?

Castiglione: Well there are other divers, and there’s a lot of camaraderie between us. Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know any of these people, I didn’t know anyone. But we’ve already become such a knit family. We’re not really with the swim team, but we’re still really close with them. And when we go to meets, we’re very close with the other divers. We spend the whole meet practicing with them.


Scarlet: Do you feel any separation from the rest of the team as a diver?

Castiglione: Not at all. I’m sure they like having a guy diver so that they don’t lose points, but they treat me like I’m one of their own. It is called the swimming and diving team, after all [laughs].


Castiglione and the rest of the men’s swimming and diving team will participate in the WPI Gompei Invitational mere yards away from Clark from Friday, December 5 to Sunday, December 7.