It was an honor to dive with Tom Smolinski at Cleveland State University. He was a great diver that kept us entertained and focused. We showed up every day because as a teammate Tom made it fun and pushed us to be our best.
Tom described diving to others in practical terms “You have to be nuts to dive.” He explained the concept of climbing a ladder and then throwing all your weight at the end of a fiberglass board. “While the board launches you in the air, you are expected rotate and twist as many times as you can before crashing into the pool. You always hope for a soft landing but most times it leads to an inevitable beating.”
Diving practice with Tom was a thrill all by itself. If you weren’t holding your head from a near concussion, you were holding your gut from laughing so hard at one of his jokes or stunts that he contrived for the sole purpose of distracting us from physical and mental anguish. Most of us would have loved to end the daily beatings inherent with the sport, but Tom would keep us from self-imploding at practice.
Tom Smolinski was someone that was always there to pick us up and make us laugh. He never let us quit, teaching us how to be resilient – which made many of life’s daily beatings a little more manageable.
Bogdan Kozul, CSU ‘98