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Joining the newly formed Thunder Bay Diving Club in 1982, this outstanding athlete went on to become an integral part of the diving legacy of Thunder Bay and Canada, first as a decorated athlete on the national and international stage during the 80s and 90s, and then as a coach during the 2010s.

In 1984, he earned his first of what would be a dozen provincial medals won during his career, often winning them in record setting style. Named to the national diving team in 1985, he went on to represent Canada at meets across the country and around the world in junior and senior competitions.

Claiming three age-group titles in 1989, his performance at the 1989 World Junior Diving Championships in Madrid in the 1m springboard saw him move up from 13th to 4th place, just missing the podium. His success that season also saw him win a gold medal in the 1m and a bronze in the 3m springboard as a member of Team Ontario at the 1989 Canada Summer Games in Saskatoon.

Advancing to the senior level, he won the 1990 national 1m springboard title, and began making his way onto international podiums, claiming a bronze medal in the Men's 1m springboard event at the 13-country 1990 MasterCard Dive Canada meet. Another bronze in the Men's 1m followed at the 1991 Cuba Cup, matched by a bronze medal in the 3m springboard at the 1991 Universiade in Sheffield, England. In 1993, he brought home a silver medal for his 1m springboard performance at the 14-nation Rostock International meet.

Starting off the 1994 season by setting a new provincial record in the Men's Open 3m springboard, he went on to win his second 1m springboard national title, earning him the chance to represent Canada at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, held in Victoria, British Columbia. In second place going into the sixth and final dive of the 1 m springboard final, his inward 2 1/2 somersault in the tuck position earned him enough marks to become Canada's first male diver to win Commonwealth Games gold since 1954 Adding a bronze medal in the 3m event, he ended the season with a top-20 performance at the 1994 World Aquatic Games.

Finishing up his 14 season diving career in 1996 he came full-circle in 2013 taking on the role of Head Coach of the Thunder Bay Diving Club. Over the course of the next six years he passed along his knowledge to the next generation of divers. His contributions as a coach saw him named Coach of the Year at the 2015 Ontario Provincial Diving Championships.  

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 17, 2022

Jason Napper

Thunder Bay
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