Diver leads MAC standings

When junior diver Jeffrey Craig was just three years old he began to take swim lessons. While he was in swimming lessons he just wanted to jump off the diving board.

Before he could even swim, Craig would jump off the diving board into his coach’s arms. He started flipping on his own, and it started to get dangerous. So his mom decided to find him a coach online. This coach would work with him until he began diving at Eastern Michigan University.

When it came time to pick a college, Jeffrey decided to come to EMU instead of schools like Ohio State and Virginia Tech. Both of those schools have great, credible coaches and awesome training facilities, but EMU proved to be a better fit for Craig.

“EMU was a good distance from my home (Akron, Ohio),” Craig said. “Being recruited for diving, EMU stood out as a great, winning program. Buck Smith, my coach, is one of the top coaches in the country, and we had a relationship through national diving before I came to EMU.”

At this point in the season, Craig leads the Mid-American Conference in 1- and 3-meter dives, as his NCAA zone consideration marks of 357.61 and 361.73 are the highest in the conference. He is striving to do well and compete strongly this season at EMU and in the MAC.

“I love to compete,” Craig said when asked why he loves diving. “The mentality and aptitude I’ve learned from training for diving has transferred to part of my life, and I use it out of the pool, too. The pool is a getaway where I can forget everything else around me and throw all that emotion into the pool.”

The level of competition, coaches and training are things he enjoys about diving, but he also enjoys being a part of the team.

“The team itself, we’re a big family,” Craig said. “We have a lot of fun together, and we have a lot of talent.”

Since coming to EMU Craig thinks his diving has improved greatly because of a few things but mainly because of the coaching staff.

“Buck is a very knowledgeable coach,” Craig said. “He’s helped me advance my skills past what I believed I was able to do. I have learned many new dives through his expertise.”

Craig has won many awards. In high school, he was a four-year letter winner at Field High in Mogadore, Ohio. He was a three-time AAU All-American diver, two-time NISCA All-American, three-time Ohio State Qualifier, finishing 13th his sophomore year and sixth during his junior season before becoming Ohio State diving champion as a senior.

Since being at EMU he has won many awards, too. Last season, he was second team All-MAC selection after medaling at the MAC swimming and diving championships in the 3-meter dive with a pool record mark of 386.47. He placed fifth at the championships on the 1-meter boards with 291.40 and set a pool and meet record for the 3-meter dive at the EMU Invitational.

During the 2009-2010 season he was a first-team All-MAC honoree and won the 3-meter event at the MAC championship with 356.95 points and took fifth in the 1-meter.

While at EMU, Craig is studying business entrepreneurship. He plans to graduate with a degree and hopes to one day use his degree to help those in need.

“I hope to someday create my own non-profit business for disaster relief or to help people who are less privileged,” Craig said.

When he is not diving, one of his favorite hobbies is eating. He loves his family and spending time with them. He is the youngest sibling and has two older brothers and an older sister. He comes from a huge family that consists of 43 cousins in his generation. He also likes hanging out with his friends, and he can’t sit still for very long so he likes being active. Traveling is another hobby Craig enjoys.

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