Friends are asking Sam Dorman the standard catch-up question: “How was your summer?” But his answer is atypical.
He gets to tell them about his unstoppable run to three national titles.
Dorman, a redshirt junior from Tempe, Ariz., has returned to Miami from the National Diving Championships, where he won individual titles in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives. He then took home the synchronized 3-meter gold with Zac Nees.
“I knew going in there was a chance of it happening, I just didn’t want to get my hopes up, didn’t want to jinx myself,” Dorman said.
The championships were held Aug. 13-18 in Iowa City. For coach Randy Ableman, it was the first time in his 23-year tenure that one of his student-athletes earned three gold medals at the event.
“I think it validated all of Sam’s hard work,” Ableman said. “He has been crazy into what he is doing, and always very motivated. It’s great for the team … him always pushing up our level of intensity.”
The dominant run in Iowa City was all the more impressive considering Dorman had shoulder surgery just a year ago and had to redshirt.
“I wouldn’t even be at this point if it weren’t for so many UM trainers,” he said. “They made this competition possible.”
Dorman’s father and grandfather sat in the stands as the final event came down to the last dive.
“Me and Zac’s last dive wasn’t as difficult as our opponent’s, so there was the opportunity for them to earn more points,” Dorman said. “I knew going into that last dive, we really had to drill it.”
Dorman and Nees executed a front 2½ with two twists, finishing with 77.52 points. They could only hope their opponents – Michael Hixon (Amherst) and Darian Schmidt (Indiana) – failed to execute perfect dives.
“I was just watching, hoping, that all the hard work throughout the year would pay off,” Dorman said. “One of the guys hit it, and one missed it completely. We pretty much lucked out and won the medal.”
The three titles will set the bar high for the upcoming UM season and beyond. Adleman raves of Dorman’s potential, even at the international level. The Miami diving program has been represented in 25 total events at the Olympics, most recently by Brittany Viola in the London games.
“That’s definitely in the goals, but NCAA is what needs to be focused on,” Dorman said. “Concentrating on that will set a benchmark for that 2016 goal.”