By Rick Assad
Like so many star athletes, recent Providence High graduate Nate Warson began diving at a young age, which has helped his progress which includes placing first in the one-meter, first in the three-meter synchronized, second in the one-meter synchronized and third in the three-meter at the prestigious Amateur Athletic Union National Championship.
“I started diving when I was seven years old when I was living in Santa Barbara County. I was attending a swim camp at UCSB in 2012 and on the last day of camp the counselors let us jump off the diving boards and I did a flip off the three-meter board,” he said. “When the camp was over, the head swimming coach at UCSB told my mom that she should talk to the UCSB diving coach about getting me into diving lessons. I ended up joining her club team in Santa Barbara that summer. I dove consistently with her from 2012 through 2015 but when she moved from Santa Barbara, I no longer had a team or coach.”
Luckily for Warson, who will be majoring in Business Administration at California Baptist University in Riverside where he will be a member of the diving team, it all worked out in the end.
“My family eventually relocated to Studio City in 2017 and at that time I joined the Rose Bowl Dive Club in Pasadena,” he said. “I have been on the team ever since.”
The Lancers compete in the NCAA Division I and are a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Warson, who won the National Art Society and National Latin Society awards given by Providence, tried to explain why diving and being in the pool seemingly comes naturally.
“A successful diver is very determined and focused on their goals. Personally, I think that if you set goals, whether it is long or short term they help a lot with becoming better,” he noted. “Having something to work towards and get the satisfaction from completing gives you more confidence and strength to become better.”
Warson had a fantastic senior season and spoke about his approach.
“I did well at the CIF [Southern Section] meets because I was so happy to be finally diving for Providence High School and I wanted to start the school’s new swim and dive team off right,” he said.
Regardless of the status of the meet, Warson gave his best effort and recalled his best marks.
“In the 2023 CIF meet held at Mt San Antonio College, I placed first with a score of 541.95 which was a personal best for me. Being Prep League champion for Providence and setting a new league record was special. I placed third in the Division V championship, and ninth place at CIF state,” he said. “At the USA Diving Zones, I placed sixth in the one-meter with a score of 457.80 and placed sixth in the three-meter with a score of 483.20. This placement allowed me to compete at the USA Diving Nationals at the end of July. I placed third in the three-meter and fifth in the one-meter at the AAU National Championship in 2022 held in San Antonio, Texas. I also qualified for the USA National Diving Championship in 2022 on the one-meter and fifth place in the three-meter and fifth in the one-meter at the AAU National Championship in 2021 in West Virginia.”
Though confident in his ability, Warson knows the difficulty when diving.
“Before every competition I get very nervous, even if it’s a smaller meet. I do my best to stay calm by breathing and talking with my friends before the competition starts,” he admitted. “Talking with people helps me distract myself from what’s going on and switches my focus which helps me be less nervous. To get ready I will go through my stretches to make sure I’m stretched and won’t get hurt. I also visualize all my dives, seeing in my head what I should do and what my dive should look like. This all helps me dive and perform better.”
What is Warson’s anecdote when he feels a bit edgy?
“I get very nervous before competitions. Both the night before and especially the morning and hours before I compete,” he said. “One thing that helps me to stay calm and relax before a meet is talking with people. Before any meet I try to talk to my friends to distract me from the meet and try to switch my focus and relax a little bit.”
Warson said this dive season has been glorious and something he was hoping for.
“This year meant a lot to me. I always wanted to dive for my high school and after finally talking to our new athletic director, he was able to make that possible,” he said. “It was my last opportunity to dive for Providence since I was a senior and I wanted to dive well and try my hardest. I was able to make more friends from the various high schools I competed against, and we all supported each other.”
Talent is one thing, but good old hard work and practice are just as essential.
“To become very good at diving takes a lot of practice and years of dedication. You have to want to become good to see results,” Warson pointed out. “Being determined to learn new and harder dives and wanting to improve is the key factor to becoming really good.”
Given the Pioneers didn’t have a swimming or diving team, this was Warson’s only opportunity to represent Providence.
“I wanted to dive for my high school, and I wanted to make it to the state championship, which I did,” he said. “I also wanted to qualify for the USA Diving National Championship since this is the last year I can attend. The USA National Championship is the biggest meet you can compete in for USA Junior Olympics.”
Being on the Providence aquatics squad has been an enormous benefit for Warson.
“Being on a dive team has helped me tremendously. Consistency is huge in diving and attending daily practices with my coaches is very important,” he said. “They push me every day during practice, supporting me and being patient with my progress is what helped me become the diver I am now.”
Providence’s team was exactly that, a band of brothers.
“I also feel that being part of a team is very helpful as we all push each other to dive better,” he said.
Warson knew more than a decade ago that diving was for him and that he could achieve much.
“Personally I think diving is a very selective sport. Either you work hard and commit, or you don’t put the effort in and you stop. From what I have been told from my coaches and previous coaches is that diving seems to come easy for me,” he said. “When I was seven, my very first coach saw potential in me and after diving for so many years, it became natural for me. Diving isn’t all that hard if you aren’t scared and want to learn but the mechanics of dives can be complicated, and it takes a lot of consistent practice to become better.”
Filled with talent, desire, hard work and able coaches, Warson has excelled at something he happened upon by serendipity.