Diving for success: Matthew Brady earns KingCo Championship

Paige Bajsarowicz, Editorial Board

Any high school athlete can attest that the chances of qualifying for KingCo as an underclassman are slim. The chances of winning KingCo, placing at Districts, or qualifying for State are even more remote. Nevertheless, sophomore Matthew Brady’s resume includes all three.

Joining LHS Swim and Dive as a freshman, Brady learned quickly that he had an aptitude for diving. 

“It started as a dare my freshmen year. It came almost naturally since I already did a lot of trampoline and gymnastics type activities,” Brady said. “It’s an enjoyable sport, one with a different skill set that I’m good at.”

He was not the only one who noticed such natural skill.

“Matthew turned out for diving for the first time during my last season of coaching the boys swim team,” former Liberty Swim and Dive Coach Kris Daughters said. “It became apparent pretty quickly that he had a lot of talent for the diving board. He had no prior experience that I’m aware of–he just took to it.”

Brady swiftly became a valuable diver for Liberty, winning the 3A KingCo Championship, finishing 2nd at SeaKing District Championships, earning 7th at State Championships for 3A divers, and being awarded KingCo Honorable Mention.

“There are kids that go four years diving who don’t learn what he learned in his first season,” Daughters said.

Many question what it takes to be so successful. Flexibility? Motor skills? While such things play a significant role in a diver’s performance, those who work closely with Brady agree that his attitude is the leading cause of his achievements.

“Matthew has an excellent work ethic and is willing to try anything in order to make improvements. He is not afraid to try and fail and try again, and that is what makes him a good diver,” Liberty Boys Swim and Dive coach Valerie Berglund said. “We have a motto that we look for progress, not perfection. He embodies that.”

Brady’s determination and positivity doesn’t just help him perform to the best of his ability, it encourages others to do the same.

“Matthew has often been called Mr. Congeniality by other competitors and coaches from other schools because of how encouraging and positive he is to other competitors,” Berglund said.

Aside from coaches, Brady’s teammates have also taken note of his enthusiasm.

“He’s always positive. He’s got a bright attitude whenever I see him – at school, at practice,” swimmer David Terayama said. “Beyond being a great diver, he socializes with everyone on the team, and really connects the team together, from upperclassmen to freshmen. He definitely gets Liberty’s name out there for diving.”

Looking forward, Brady has recently made the decision to join a club dive team. He is hopeful that making this commitment to the sport will help him to develop an even stronger skillset.

“I think club swim and dive will help me a lot with technique. It’s a chance to get consistent with my dives.” Brady said. “I want to go to college on a dive scholarship and club will help me work toward that.”