GVSU diver Brad Dalrymple brings laser focus into start of 2016

GVL / Emily Frye    
Brad Dalrymple during the Black and Blue Meet on Saturday Oct. 6, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Brad Dalrymple during the Black and Blue Meet on Saturday Oct. 6, 2016.

Jake Carroll

Grand Valley State sophomore diver Brad Dalrymple listens to the song “All I do Is Win” by DJ Khaled before each meet.

The song is his personal mantra, and a fitting theme to his 2016 season thus far.

“It seems kind of selfish,” Dalrymple said about his song choice. “Like, I don’t want to sound selfish, but it really is what I listen to.”

Last season, Dalrymple won the NCAA Division II one-meter diving board with a score of 540.45. He also placed sixth on the 3-meter board with a score of 537.75. He has also only lost one board all year, and expects to finish first in both the one and three-meter boards at nationals this year.

“Brad is a very focused competitor,” said Dalrymple’s teammate Kayla Marquardt. “He’s definitely always focused on the meet and focused on his next dive.”

Dalrymple’s day before a meet is something you might not expect.

“The day before the meet I always go through my list of dives,” Dalrymple said. “The next day I don’t eat. I just can’t eat anything.”

One would expect anyone near a pool to eat something similar to a Michael Phelps diet, which consists of about 12,000 calories a day in-season. Not Dalrymple, though. During the day of a meet, he needs to be completely in the zone and focused on his dives.

“I always have to have my certain headphones, and I always have to listen to the same songs,” Dalrymple said. “I have mashups that I listen to of all of today’s hits. Once the meet actually starts, I have to have my spot and no one can be in my spot.”

His teammate Jared Gregory can speak from experience about Dalrymple’s special spot on the pool deck.

“(Brad) doesn’t really like when you come up to him before he is competing,” Gregory said.

Dalrymple himself will admit that he doesn’t like to engage in the small talk that happens around the pool deck between the divers.

“All the other divers like to chatter,” Dalrymple said. “Not me, I’m just silent. I’m focused and think ‘let’s get it done.’”

When Dalrymple was still in high school in his hometown of St. Joseph, Michigan, he would visit GVSU on the weekends for football games. His sister attended GVSU, so his parents would bring him along during their visits.

Before the football games, though, Dalrymple went to the open swims at the Fieldhouse pool. There was no 3-meter diving board where he went to school, so he had to get his practice on the board at GVSU’s pool.

“He’s familiar with Grand Valley,” GVSU diving coach Steve Burciaga said. “He would be in here during open swim diving. He’s been doing that for a few years now, so he’s very familiar with Grand Valley.”

A lot of divers find their origins from gymnastics as a child. The ability to flip and turn while in the air isn’t normally a trait that you’re born with.

Dalrymple’s interest in diving, not to mention his laser focus and intense preparation, could be traced back to an old instructor at a summer camp.

Each summer, Dalrymple would go to the YMCA day camp and the lifeguard at the local YMCA was a diver at the local high school.

“I would just do flips, and I was a kid so I liked to show off and I wanted everyone to look at me,” Dalrymple said. “And then (the lifeguard) said that I should come to high school and try it out. I’ve been diving ever since.”

Dalrymple will be back in action Saturday, Nov. 19 at the GVSU Fieldhouse when the Laker men’s and women’s teams host the Ball State Cardinals.