High School Sports

State College’s Tally Brown rewriting record books in girls’ diving

State College Area diver Tally Brown does a reverse dive pike during practice with her teammates on Thursday.
State College Area diver Tally Brown does a reverse dive pike during practice with her teammates on Thursday. adrey@centredaily.com

Tally Brown’s typical weekday consisted of six hours of diving workouts during the summer.

She had diving practice with the Dominion Dive Club in Virginia at the pool from 12:30-4 p.m. before going to the club’s dryland center from 4:30-7 p.m. Some days, the practice schedule included an 8-10 p.m. session for platform diving.

Brown, a State College junior, spent about four weeks during parts of June and July working to improve her craft. She focused on the small details while training under Steph Sutton and gained experience with 3-meter dives, something she’ll need to be able to compete in at the college level.

Brown’s commitment to the intense regimen boosted her confidence going into her third year of diving.

“I know I’m going to do well in meets,” Brown said. “I don’t second guess myself as much as I used to.”

Brown was a natural when she first started diving her freshman year after spending her childhood competing in gymnastics.

She’s already one of the best divers in State College history.

Brown broke her own school record and set the pool record for six 1-meter dives with a score of 278.4 in the first meet of the season against Williamsport, just days after returning to the pool from a wrist injury. She also owns the school and District 6 championships record for 11 dives with her mark of 480.2, set during her sophomore year.

She’s looking to build on her success as she aims to follow in her parents’ footsteps as a diver at the Division-I level. Kim Brown, her mother, was an All-American diver at Wisconsin, and Craig Brown, her father, dove at Penn State. Both went into coaching, with Kim serving as the diving coach at Purdue and Northwestern and Craig leading the program at Penn State.

“She’s kind of a coach’s dream in that she’s really a diving legacy,” State College diving coach Patrick McClelland said.

Tally Brown didn’t show any interest in diving despite going to Penn State’s workouts when her father was coaching.

She was content with gymnastics, training at the YMCA in Bellefonte and Centre Elite Gymnastics while dreaming of competing in the Big Ten or Southeastern Conference in college.

“All of his divers would say like, ‘You know you’re going to end up a diver one day. All the gymnasts do.’ ” Tally Brown said. “I was like so in denial, I was like, ‘No, there’s no way, I love gymnastics. It’s not happening.’ ”

But gymnastics took a toll on her body.

She suffered a stress fracture in her shin in addition to injuries to her ankles and feet.

“She’s been in and out of a boot like five times,” Kim Brown said. “We spent a lot of time in the emergency room.”

After getting burned out and giving up gymnastics, Tally Brown is committed to getting better at diving and put in the time in Virginia.

But she had to deal with an injury going into this season.

Brown pulled a tendon in her wrist during the summer after hitting the water wrong. She tried taping it, icing it and resting it, but nothing helped with the pain, so she had surgery in October.

She recorded her record-setting dive about two months later, opening this season with confidence after being “super-intimidated” her first two years when she would look into the stands and tell herself not to mess up during dives.

“This year I just try to focus on what I’m doing and tell myself it’s muscle memory and I know how to do it,” Brown said. “Like it’s not a question, just tell myself I can do well.”

Ryne Gery: 814-231-4679, @rgery