To be crowned the Horizon League champion of the 1-meter finals last weekend, UW-Green Bay senior diver Miles Rohrbaugh had to complete six dives—all with a great degree of difficulty compared to his 21 competitors. He also had to block out what happened last year… in this same pool at Indianapolis University Natatorium, Rohrbaugh had hit his arms on the board, narrowly missing his head.
This year, Rohrbaugh did not flinch. Completing the best dives of his career, he expected a second or third place finish, but was shocked to hear he had won the event.
“I felt disbelief above anything, said the Duluth, Minn native. “I’m going from barely making finals to taking it all. I didn’t know I had that in me.”
Finishing in eighth place at the end of the preliminary round, Rohrbaugh snuck into finals. “Barely making it into the final round, I wanted to clean things up, some dives more than others.”explained Rohrbaugh. With some of the best dives of his career, he came back in the final round to win the 1-meter event with 319.15 points. He finished 0.1 points, edging out Felix Lafortune, the multi-year reigning conference champion from UIC.
His coach, Tom Stover, named Conference Coach of the Year, also reflected on the moment, “The celebration with his teammates was a thing of beauty. I loved the joyful outpouring of support; he couldn’t stop smiling while getting hugs from so many people.”
Rohrbaugh’s diving career started in the eighth grade. “He could hardly bend the board, he was so little,” his mom Britt explained. Typically the only diver at his meets, he was quiet and reserved but his confidence grew with his diving skills. In high school, he was coached by his father, Leon, who was new to the coaching scene at the time. In fact, Rohrbaugh’s years of high school diving became a family endeavor.
“We all felt part of the team and were involved in different capacities. Maari [Rohrbaugh’s sister] helped coach, Britt volunteered with meets. Grandparents and extended family made it to as many meets as possible,” Leon described.
Now in his fourth year at UW-Green Bay, Rohrbaugh has pushed himself even further. With 5:30 a.m. lift and hours of practice each day, he is up-and-at-it before the rest of the world wakes. Stover credits Rohrbaugh’s self-motivation and dedication for his success as a diver.
“Each season, he has added more difficult dives to his list and yet he is always thinking about what he can do to improve. It
has been extremely rare that I feel the need to push or challenge him to use his practice time in a more efficient way. He is an exceptional athlete, a real student of his sport, and a wonderful role model for younger divers.”
Rohrbaugh, in turn, credits Stover for his success at UW-Green Bay.
“He’s the best. He’s every diver’s favorite coach, even on other teams. He’s always jumping around, yelling at people, and he’s so happy.” His excellence was recognized this year with the Diving Coach of the Year honor.
Combined with his talent, hard work and the respect he’s earned, Rohrbaugh has become the first Green Bay diver to win a Horizon League Championship on either board since 2016. Rohrbaugh’s score of 319.15 puts him in the top four for Green Bay’s all-time best performance on the 1-meter board. This accolade is one of many. He holds seven pool records from his high school days at Duluth East High.
However, Rohrbaugh’s season is far from over. He competes in NCAA Zone Diving Meet in Madison, March 6-8. Rohrbaugh has qualified for zones since his sophomore year. “On the 1-meter I have a fighting chance because I’m a little more comfortable on it than the 3-meter.” After this year, Rohrbaugh will be taking the NCAA’s offer of a fifth year of eligibility and has another year to showcase his talents. Stover is excited too, and “could not be more pleased to have him back for another year.”
Story by Soundarya Ritzman
Photos courtesy of Andy Groebner, a member of the Green Bay diving team.