Wisconsin diving reaching new heights as a program - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin diving reaching new heights as a program

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MADISON, Wis. (WKOW) --  When it comes to the pool, the Wisconsin Badgers are nationally known for their swimming program. 
But there's another crucial part of the program that often goes unnoticed -- their diving team. 

Twisting and turning their bodies more than 32 feet in the air, the Badgers are hoping to take their program to new heights.

"We've had some really good swimmers over the years but diving hasn't really taken off until probably the past two years, " says sophomore diver Ethan O'Neill.

"When I came into this program we had two women on the diving team," says diving coach Anton Slobounov, who is in his 6th year with the program. "Next year we'll have six women and five men."

The program is still in it's infancy and unfortunately, they can't even train in Madison. Instead, once a week, they load up the van and head to Milwaukee where they can practice their dives.

O'Neill thinks the trips bring the team closer together.

"It definitely contributes to some team bonding cause you're stuck in the car an hour and a half on the way there, an hour and a half on the way back."

But there are also disadvantages, like not having the opportunity to hit the platform whenever they want. Slobounvo tries to make every dive count. 

"There's definitely challenges with the amount of time we can physically do it because ten meter is definitely an acclimation sport. It's very challenging to go back up and feel those butterflys as opposed to someone who does spend three to four times a week on 10 meters."

Even without the proper facilities, Wisconsin is climbing their way up into the spotlight. 

"I'd say we're getting better. You know, we're improving every year," says freshman Kevin Pomeroy. "I want people to know about Wisconsin diving. That's probably my biggest goal."

For Pomeroy and O'Neill, they are getting closer to that goal.  

Last month, the pair qualified for the 2017 USA Diving National Championships, which will be held in Columbus later this month.

"I'm sure it's going to be pretty tough, you know it's nationals so it's the best people around."

Going against the best of the best is something that fuels O'Neill. 

"When you see divers a step above you, you wanna hop a step above them and that's what I'm aiming for I'm excited for it."

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