Old Greenwich resident and aspiring Olympic diver James Hopper won a bronze medal on the 3-meter springboard at the UANA Junior Pan American Diving Championships.
James was one of only 12 male divers chosen to represent Team USA at the Junior Pan Am Championships held at the University of Arizona in Tucson Sept. 26 through Sept. 29. Selection to the team was based on James' gold medal performance on the 3-meter board at the USA Diving Junior Nationals, held in Minneapolis, this past August.
The Pan Am Championships, held every other year, were in the United States for the first time since 2005. More than 100 divers from the US, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, participated.
This was James' first, major international competition in the 12- to 13-year-old division. “We are so proud of James and everything he has accomplished this year,” said Coach Dylan Korn. “He has many goals and works incredibly hard to reach those goals.” James dives with the Greenwich YMCA's Marlins Dive Club, with coaches Korn and Lindsay Weigle.
Thirteen-year-old James, who's a student at Eastern Middle School in Riverside, began his diving career at Greenwich Country Club five years ago. In 2012 he was placed on USA Diving’s Junior Elite Performance Squad. In 2013, Hopper was named to USA Diving’s Future Olympic Force Team, for “junior divers who aspire to become members of the Olympic Performance Squad with the goal of competing in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.” Up next for James is the USA Diving Winter Senior Nationals, scheduled for mid-December in Austin, TX. There, he will be one of the youngest competitors on the 3-meter springboard.
“I hope to keep improving as 2013 comes to an end. I am adding more difficulty to my dive lists and look forward to a challenging and fun 2014” said James.