Woodlands Diving Team
The Woodlands Diving Team began in the '70s with coach Dick Smith. Several international Olympians trained at the Woodlands Athletic Center under Coach Smith including top U.S. diver Keith Russell. After more than 10 years with Dick Smith as head coach, in 1985 coach Terry Faulkenberry took over the team and built a very strong U.S. Junior National Championship team. Several U.S. junior champions came from the Woodlands under Faulkenberry’s coaching: Kelly Jenkins, Terri Seipel, and 1992 Olympic silver medallist Scott Donie.
In 1986, coach Ann Farger from New Zealand took over the reigns and continued leading the team with a strong junior national presence. In 1987 coach Milton Braga from Brazil, once an Olympic diver training at The Woodlands under Dick Smith, took over for two years.
Program Director Ken Armstrong moved from his coaching position under U.S. Olympic Coach Ron O’brien at Mission Bay in Florida to accept the head coaching position in 1989. Under Armstrong’s tutelage over the past decade, the Junior and Senior teams have grown substantially and produced numerous age group and senior national and international champions. Armstrong has maintained the legacy of all graduating high school seniors from the junior/senior Olympic national team receiving diving or academic college scholarship offers from NCAA Division I schools.
A high point for the team came in 2000 when The Woodlands diver Laura Wilkinson, together with Coach Armstrong, qualified to represent the United States in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and won the gold medal in the women’s 10-meter platform event. This was the first Olympic diving gold medal for a U.S. woman in that event since 1964, when U.S. diver Leslie Bush won, and a first-ever Olympic gold medal for a Woodlands Diver.
On December 31st, 2008, the Woodlands Athletic Club (the facilities where the team had been practicing for years) closed its doors forever, and the team now practices at the CISD Natatorium, about two miles from the previous location. The Woodlands Diving program lives on with its rich history of diving past and aggressive pursuit of diving success into the future.