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It’s another sunny day in Miami as sophomore Reuben Ross and freshman J.J. Kinzbach, two divers on Miami’s men’s team, approach a bench by the tennis courts.
As both come up in matching weight room outfits with grins on their faces, 20 entertaining minutes are sure to come, despite Ross’s mock indignation when later asked for an interesting factoid about the two: “You mean we’re boring?”
Ross and Kinzbach are far from it.
The two are veterans with over 25 years of diving between them. Ross hails from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (just don’t ask for its pronunciation), and Kinzbach comes from Montgomery, Texas.
“Divers are always a little bit crazy just because it’s an extreme sport to push yourself,” Ross says. “[You go], ‘Hey I wonder if I can jump from this tree to that tree.'”
After ensuring that none of these shenanigans occur during the season – much to their coach’s pleasure – Kinzbach details an interesting story surrounding the campus’ crocodile: “He [Ross] was climbing a tree and the crocodile was right underneath him. I even have a videotape of that.”
Unfortunately, the two haven’t named the crocodile yet, despite seeing it often during practice.
“It’s fun seeing him,” Kinzbach says. “We didn’t name him yet but we should. We thought about it because he kind of hangs out right behind where we practice.”
In the past, the two competed against each other in international events but were never introduced. Now, however, they seem to have formed a strong bond.
“We push each other a lot,” Ross says. “It’s actually helpful because it really makes you push the other person. He does a great dive and you go, ‘I’m not going to let that happen’ and then you do a great dive too.”
Ross and Kinzbach seem to be like most other students at Miami, despite the fact that on this day Kinzbach was recovering from a high ankle sprain and Ross was headed to China the next day for the Olympic trials.
“The sky’s the limit for both of them,” head diving coach Randy Ableman says. “Both were great divers before coming here and have gotten better since then. Both are fairly well-rounded people too. They’re more than little robots that dive.”
Although Ross will miss the ACC competition while in China, both he and Kinzbach say they will be more than ready to dive in the NCAA Zone and NCAA Championships. They add that they hope to bring the titles to the Canes in springboard and platform individually.
“A huge goal as a college diver is to win NCAAs and to be something special, and particularly J.J. [Kinzbach] in the 10 meters,” Ableman says. “It’s not something we discuss often, but enough so that it’s doable and they realize their potential.”
Christina De Nicola may be contacted at email@example.com.
Correction: The profile that ran in print and initially online was incorrect in stating that the Ross was training for the 2010 Olympics. He is training for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.