Q&A With Clay Davis
Jan. 23, 2004
Purdue junior Clay Davis was named the Men's Big Ten Diver of the Week on January 19th following outstanding performances against Michigan and Michigan State. The honor marked Davis' second Conference award of the year. Against the Wolverines, Davis set a Boilermaker Aquatic Center pool record with his score of 314.17 on the one-meter board, while also sweeping the one-meter and three-meter events. The Texan also won the three-meter event, the next day, against Michigan State, helping his team to a 190-105 victory. Davis was a finalist at the 2003 Big Ten Championships in one-meter and also finished 13th in the platform competition. He is a two-time NCAA Regional Zones qualifier and a three-time high school All-American. Here is how Clay answered some of our questions about getting started in diving, preparing for Big Tens, and taking the leap off of a 10-meter platform.
Some divers seem to come from a swimming background and some from a gymnastics background. Do you fit into either of those categories?
Well, I guess I come form both. Growing up I tried every sport in the rainbow, but none of them really worked for me. Then everything just kind of fell into place with diving and I started about 11 years ago.
How did you get started in diving?
I got kicked off the swim team when I was younger because I wouldn't get off the diving board during practice. So the coach kicked me off the team and gave me a number to the local diving club.
Do you ever find yourself frustrated in a spot where the results are purely subjective?
Of course I get frustrated. Sometimes you think you are doing things that are correct, but the judge sees it otherwise. You don't know that you've done something wrong and it gets seen from a different perspective.
The Big Ten Championship meet is only about a month away, how do you adjust your training leading up to that weekend?
We become a little more focused on quality rather than quantity and we become more focused on rest.
Is diving off of the 10-meter platform more difficult mentally or physically?
How do you deal with that when you get up on the tower?
I don't stand around once I step up there (on the tower). I try to just walk in and go. My coach knows to call out 10-meter right away so I don't think about it. I try to not get wrapped up in mental games. But once I'm in the air I feel comfortable with what I'm doing, just getting off of the tower is key.
Your coach (Wenbo Chen) was a very accomplished diver for the Chinese National Team, does he ever get on the board at practice?
No way! We've asked him to but he says no.
Does he tell any stories about his experiences in that program?
Yeah, he tells us a lot of stories of how they did things in China and how they're done differently now.
Your team recently returned from a winter break trip to Arizona. What was the highlight - diving or non-diving - of that trip?
Diving against national one meter champion (Joona Puhakka of Arizona State), he is the NCAA champ one meter.