Nolan looks to flip state record books


Courtesy of Harrison Nolan

Nolan, who owns every men’s diving record at RB, competes in a meet.

Paul Proteau, Editor

Senior Harrison Nolan has some big-time goals for his senior year. After the IHSA State meet for dive was canceled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic it could only be expected that a diver like Nolan would want to finish out his senior year strong. 

“I’m going for the state record this year, that’s what my goal has been since my freshman year so I’m just going to keep pushing for it to hit that benchmark,” Nolan said. 

Nolan’s long-time goal will require him to obtain a score greater than 555.40, a record which was set by former Marian Catholic diver Joey Cifelli. Cifelli set the state record seven years ago at the 2015 IHSA State Swim and Dive Finals. So far in his high school career, Nolan has finished fifth place at the state meet his freshman year (2019) and had an even more notable finish taking second-place his sophomore year (2020), shortly before many sports were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nolan’s goal is ambitious, but he is ready for the competition ahead.

Nolan has seen some of his competition in recent meets, notably the Red Devil Invite hosted by Hinsdale Central High School on January 15. The meet pitted Nolan against a crowded field in the very competitive invite. Nonetheless, competitions like these keep Nolan motivated as he pushes through his final high school season. 

”There were 37 [divers] in the event, and I’d say it’s arguably the hardest invite in the state,” Nolan said,” Seeing my competition there gives me the motivation to keep pushing and staying on the track that I’m on.”

Though it wasn’t an all-time best score for Nolan, this performance comes after he captured the pool record at Hinsdale Central just a week prior.

Nolan’s diving journey started almost out of the blue when he was a kid messing around with the diving board at the Riverside Golf Club. After learning how to somersault from his father, Nolan kept working to impress him.

“The story was basically me messing around on a board at the Riverside Golf Club,” Nolan said,”My dad taught me my first somersault and from there I just kept on getting up on that board and trying to do more crazy stuff to impress him.”

It was soon after that, he decided to take diving seriously and got involved in clubs like Windy City Diving. 

As if being one of the greatest high school divers in the state of Illinois wasn’t enough, Nolan will be competing at the Division-I level in his collegiate career. This past November, Nolan signed a letter of intent to dive at the University of Kentucky on some scholarship. Though he initially verbally committed to the University of Alabama last spring, Nolan stepped away after staffing changes on the university’s dive team. 

“Kentucky was the first visit that I scheduled (after stepping away from the University of Alabama) and I loved the campus so much. It was beautiful,” Nolan said,”I loved the coach, Ted Hautau, he just put [the visit] together perfectly.”

Nolan was so impressed with the University of Kentucky that he verbally committed to them on the last day of his visit.

“I made the decision on the spot,” Nolan said, “The last day of my visit I committed to Kentucky.”

The 2022 IHSA Swim and Dive State Meet will take place on February 26. Until then, Nolan will have plenty of time to get some meets in and fine-tune before the big day.