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Published: Saturday, 6/21/2008

Ex-St. John's diver sets sights on 2012 Olympics

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

David Colturi of Sylvania, an All-American at Purdue University, spins through a dive off the 10-meter platform competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials. David Colturi of Sylvania, an All-American at Purdue University, spins through a dive off the 10-meter platform competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
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First in a series of area Olympic athletes hoping to qualify for the Beijing Games.

Staying in the moment and enjoying the experience hasn't been an issue so far for Sylvania native David Colturi at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.

Since the American diving team has been all but decided, Colturi entered the competition to gain some whiskers in the hopes of making the squad for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

Currently in fifth place heading into tomorrow's 10-meter platform finals, the St. John's Jesuit graduate more than likely won't be making the trip to Beijing this summer.

And that's alright with him.

"I'm not really looking to win the thing or even compete or anything," said Colturi, who earned All-American recognition this past season following his freshman year at Purdue.

"I'm really just here to gain some experience and have fun, and that's really what I've been doing. It's been working out."

Colturi's loose demeanor has actually paid greater dividends for him, as he's posted the two best consecutive diving scores of his career in the first two days of the trials.

After the preliminaries on Wednesday, Colturi sat in fifth place with 412.80 points, 159.85 behind leader David Boudia of Noblesville, Ind.

Colturi posted an even higher score in the semifinals on Thursday, totaling 428.1 points.

"I've only broken 400 like five times in my career, and two of them have been these last two lifts," Colturi said.

Colturi will also make his national television debut, as tomorrow's finals will be televised from 3-6 p.m. on NBC (Ch. 24).

"The atmosphere is pretty crazy," Colturi said. "It's pretty nuts. The first day was a little nerve-racking. I was a little nervous. I can't lie about that, but really my coach [Adam Soldati] is just telling me to come here and have fun."

Soldati said he's been very pleased with Colturi's performance so far.

"He's really done great," Soldati said. "When he came into Purdue University, he'd never done a lift over 400, and that was one of our goals coming into this year. And not just dive at a 400-level but to consistently dive at a 400-level."

Soldati added this experience for Colturi is "just another notch on his belt" in preparation for the ultimate goal of earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in 2012.

"I think it means a lot," Soldati said. "It's not a crucial element, but anytime you can get experience at this type of a meet where it's hyped up as much as it is, it's a great experience. There's no shortcut for experience. You have to earn your lumps. You have to go through it.

"Now he'll know what this meet is like down the road four years from now when we're battling to make the team."

Colturi and Soldati both agreed that this experience will be crucial the next time around, as long as Colturi keeps one thing in mind.

In order to have success, maintaining that cool and collected temperament is a must because nerves and anxiety will ruin your day.

Colturi seems to have grasped that lesson already.

"We were riding over to the pool after prelims. My teammate Amanda [Miller] was competing in the 3-meter, and I was talking about one of my competitors - my good buddy from Ohio State [Sean Moore] had a real rough day in prelims - and I was like, 'Man, I really wish he just wouldn't take it so seriously. You just have to have fun. The team is already picked. The two top guys are so far ahead. It doesn't even matter, so just have fun with it,'•" Colturi said.

"And my coach is like, 'Yeah that's the attitude you have to have, and the thing you have to remember is even when you're in the hunt, you still have to have the same attitude.'•"

From winning a state championship while at St. John's to becoming an All-American at Purdue to now competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Colturi has found success at every level of his development as a diver.

Although he will almost assuredly not come away with another title tomorrow, the wheels have been set in motion for the crowning achievement in the coming years.

But for now, enjoying the here and now will suffice.

"I'm only looking to dive for four more years," Colturi said. "So I'm just going to stay in the moment, relax and have fun. Really that's all I'm trying to do."

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com.



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