For the last four years, members of the Fishers Diving Club have had the opportunity to work with head coach Jimmy Russ, who started his own accomplished diving career in 2004, earning awards such as MVP, All-Conference, All-American Honors and All-State Honors during his high school and college careers in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Thanks to Russ, a Carmel resident, and instruction from assistant club coaches Trevor Herzog, Courtney Leslie and Maddie Folta, the Fishers Diving Club has collected several wins and placements at various regional, state and national competitions.
“I grew up being an outdoor kid, always on the move. I naturally played every sport throughout the years. My athletic career in diving was the (1-meter) springboard in high school,” Russ said. “I was recruited my freshman year by a senior in my study class. I quickly fell in love with the sport.”
At the Fishers Diving Club, Russ works with about 50 male and female athletes ranging in age from 6 to 18. He has coached IHSAA state meet finalists, including two-time IHSAA state champion Morgan Casey from Fishers High School, and USA and AAU National finalists, including several USA and AAU Diving national champions.
The club trains at the Fishers High School Natatorium.
“The mission of the Fishers Diving Club is to introduce the sport of diving in the Fishers community and cultivate exceptional diving talent while teaching meaningful skills to all our athletes from lessons to national champions and beyond,” Russ said. “Fisher’s athletes have always been so well-mannered, they work hard, are very respectful and their families are truly amazing.”
One of the divers Russ works with is 16-year-old Jacob Schade, a sophomore at Fishers High School. He started his sports career in gymnastics at age 3 and transitioned into diving in 2017, utilizing many of the same basic skills.
“Such technical skills like air awareness, which is very useful in both sports, and flipping, twisting and good form were easily transferable to diving,” Schade said. “Other helpful skills were also flexibility and strength, as those two components of conditioning are really emphasized in both gymnastics and diving. My background in gymnastics not only helped me advance faster than others in diving, it also instilled in me discipline, respect for others, patience, overcoming fears, being a good teammate and having a positive attitude.”
Through the course of his four years of diving, Schade has won several medals, including gold medals for 1-meter springboard, 3-meter springboard and 1-meter springboard synchro in the 14-year-old AAU age group at the as well as a bronze medal for 14-15 boys’ platform at the 2020 AAU Nationals in Noblesville. At the 2022 AAU Nationals in San Antonio, he won two medals in the 16-year-old boys’ 1-meter springboard and 3-meter springboard events.
Brian Morehouse, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate and Junior High, and 11-year-old Ellie Orman, a sixth-grader at Carmel Clay Middle School, also are coached by Russ. Orman has been diving for nine months, while Morehouse took up the sport two years ago.
“Coach Jimmy Russ keeps it fun but pushes me to do more and do better,” said Morehouse, whose goal is to qualify for the Olympics. This year, he won gold medals in the 1-meter, 3-meter springboard and 5-meter platform at the AAU Nationals.
Like Schade, Orman’s background in gymnastics has benefited her diving.
“I learned how to flip well and also (developed) good air awareness, technique and form,” Orman said. “All these things have helped me a lot in my diving.”
Schade has several competitive diving goals that include someday winning the IHSAA state championship, placing in finals at the USA Diving Junior Nationals and competing in college at the D1 level.
“Another goal of diving for me is to learn important life skills that are applicable to things later in life. I hope to keep building skills, such as time management, setting and achieving goals, having a positive attitude, overcoming fears and performing under pressure,” Schade said. “I also hope that diving can help me foster great lifelong relationships with my teammates and competitors that help better me in the pool as a diver and out of it as a person.”
Russ said diving is a “phenomenal sport” that helps athletes reach their goals, whether recreationally or in college athletics.
“It is also a sport that can teach life skills such as self-discipline, self-confidence and the importance of being a good teammate, just to name a few,” Russ said. “At the end of the day, I want my athletes to walk away knowing I’m their No. 1 supporter and while we strive for excellence in each individual, I also know that through a strong team culture our athletes are building lifelong friendships as well.”
To learn more about Fishers Diving Club, visit fishersdivingclub.com.
Notable Fishers Diving Club member achievements
Cole VanDevender, an alumnus of the Fishers Diving Club, participated in the 2020 Olympic Trials.
Fishers Diving Club AAU national champions include:
Will Jansen – Fishers, 2020
Brian Morehouse – Fishers, 2022
Sebastian Otero – Fishers, 2016
Darci Commons – Carmel, 2021
Fishers Diving Club IHSAA state champion:
Morgan Casey – 2020 and 2021, Fishers High School