Last Saturday, Hoya history was made when sophomore diver Jared Cooper-Vespa set a record in the men’s 3-meter dive during the first meet of the season against the University of Delaware. The team lost the meet 176-117, but Cooper-Vespa’s record-breaking success, which earned a score of 300.30, was the silver lining of the match.
“It feels good. Actually, it feels great,” Cooper-Vespa said of his record. “It’s been a goal of mine to break the 300-point barrier for a while so to do it and also break the record at the same time is kind of like a double bonus. I was able to break the record on the first meet of the season so it’s definitely made me realize I can go even further. I thought that 300 would be my max, but hitting it this early in the season makes me want to just keep pushing and see how far I can go, do harder dives.”
Cooper-Vespa first began diving in his hometown of Orange, Conn., and continued diving competitively at The Hopkins School in New Haven, Conn.
“My parents worked a lot so they needed me to do something during the summer,” Cooper-Vespa said. “They signed me up for swim lessons and I hated swimming but I saw the divers next to us and it looked pretty cool so I wanted to give it a try. I fell in love with it from there.”
A successful high school diving career positioned him as a highly-touted recruit for the Hoyas.
“Jared was third in the New England Prep School Diving Championships,” Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jamie Holder told GU Hoyas prior to Cooper-Vespa’s arrival on campus for his freshman year. “He is a very talented diver with a great work ethic. Jared is not afraid to challenge himself to do difficult dives, which will help raise the bar for everyone on the team. We are excited to see him develop as a Hoya.”
Cooper-Vespa set a high bar indeed as a freshman, earning all-Big East honors on the back of a stellar performance at the 2013 Big East championships. Cooper-Vespa placed second in the 3m dive and third in the 1m dive.
“He fit in from day one. He’s a hard worker, he lifts weights hard and he trains hard,” Head Diving Coach Michael Tober said. “He’s a model pupil. You know, he’s good and it’s good to see. He’s been a nice pleasant surprise.”
This year, Cooper-Vespa looks to continue to improve while having fun.
“I guess, I want to get the 1m record now. My goals are just to break the 300-point barrier on 1m, as well as get some harder dives. But I think diving, as well as all sports, can get really stressful sometimes so I want to keep it fun,” he said. “[Tober] does a great job pushing us but also keeping it fun. He gets that we’re students first but also he wants to push us as far as we can go as athletes.”
Tober sees Cooper-Vespa as continuing to anchor the diving program moving forward.
“He’s strong, he’s quick and he looks good in the air,” Tober said. “Those are three of the most important attributes. Consistency is the only thing he needs to get better on and, as exhibited by the last meet, if he’s talented and consistent then he’s going to put up scores indicative of that. Then he’ll continue to score really well.”
Cooper-Vespa and the Georgetown swimming and diving team will look for their first win of the season when they face Towson University this Saturday.