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Cornerstone Diving Club Graduating Seniors Announce College Diving Plans

From left: Jaya Magavi, Ali Colburn, Sarah Grady, Eli Brandt, coach Scott Pierson. Courtesy photo

Senior members of the Cornerstone Diving Club, who train at Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford, plan to continue the sport in college.


After three years of training in our club, all four of our talented senior divers have been recruited by colleges and have received scholarship offers.

“It’s always rewarding to see hard work and dedication pay off,” said Scott Pierson, head coach and owner of Cornerstone Diving Club. “Our year-round training to hone diving skills and cultivate a passionate and enthusiastic attitude has helped these divers achieve college and NCAA readiness.”

Most of the older divers are ex-gymnasts. Gymnastics training gives divers the opportunity to accelerate and blossom into world-class divers with college scholarship potential. Divers can easily become the large fish in a small pond whereas in gymnasts, due to the very large number of athletes, gymnasts will more likely remain small fish in a very large pond. Most of our USA Olympians are high-level ex-gymnasts.

The skills learned in gymnastics can be applied to diving. “Our club recognizes this and understands the importance in order to set our divers up for success,” said Pierson.

The divers, several of whom are West Hartford residents, have provided the following information:

Eli Brandt. Courtesy photo

Eli Brandt

  • Kingswood Oxford Class of 2023
  • Achievements: 1m high scores: 319.55 (6 dives), 524.00 (11 dives) – KO school records that Brandt has set and re-set multiple times throughout his high school diving career.
  • First place in Founder’s League championship in 2020, 2022, and 2023.
  • Winner of the Division II NEPSAC championship in 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023
  • Future plans to dive at Tufts University at the D3 level
  • “Some of my goals include improving my list of dives on 3-meter and working on making the throw into my front and inward category dives stronger,” Brandt said. “Though I have been diving since I was around 5 years old, throughout these past three years I have improved so much working with Scott at CDC. I have learned how to control my dives and how to become a stronger, more confident, and more successful diver. On top of that it has been amazing to see the rest of the team grow and improve as well!”

Ali Colburn. Courtesy photo

Ali Colburn

  • Conard High School Class of 2023
  • 2021 CT Class L state champion
  • 2022 CT Class LL state champion
  • CT All-State 2020, 2021, and 2022
  • 2022 CT Scholar-Athlete Award for swimming and diving
  • Conard record holder for 6 ( 307.85 ) and 11 (500.6 ) dives
  • Committed to The University of San Diego (D1) studying Biology (pre-med) in their Honors College
  • “My goals are to continue to refine my dives while obtaining an excellent education and creating lifelong friendships,” Colburn said. “My start with diving came after spending my entire childhood in competitive gymnastics. I made the switch to diving looking for a sport that would be better for me both physically and mentally while also allowing me to capitalize on the skills I had been working so hard to obtain. Scott was supportive from day 1 and I was quickly able to transition into a competitive diver. CDC is a great place for new divers and experienced divers alike because Scott has both the experience and demeanor to bring the best out of everyone. I’ve also enjoyed being able to compete with some of my very best friends who are always there to cheer when we are having a good meet or encourage if we’re not!”

Jaya Magavi. Courtesy photo

Jaya Magavi

  • Miss Porters Class of 2023
  • Achievements include high score: 458 (11 dives), and Miss Porters school record for (6 dives – 257) and (11 dives 458)
  • Founders League champion (458), New England D2 champion
  • Headed to Wellesley College (D3)
  • “My goal is to have fun with my friends and improve my diving,” Magavi said. “CDC is a place where you can become an incredible diver among so many encouraging and kind teammates. The welcoming community is unmatched and the dedication coach Scott has for every one of his divers is something you will find nowhere else.”

Sarah Grady. Courtesy photo

Sarah Grady

  • Avon High School Class of 2023
  • Achievements include Avon High School three-time All-State (Boys) Diver, second Place at Class M (Boys) States, 2022 Zone A Championships Qualifier, 6 Dive Avon school Record: 268.2011 and Dive School Record: 477.45
  • Plans to attend College of the Holy Cross (D1)
  • Grady said her goal is “to become the best athlete I can be while creating lifelong relationships. Scott has been my coach for almost all of my diving career. As I go to college, I hope to find someone who cares about their divers like he does. CDC is a great place to dive and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. We are a tight-knit team that supports each other in everything, including the inevitable smacks.”

For more information about Cornerstone Diving Club and coach Scott Pierson, visit the website. To test out the program, a free “Try-It-Out” day is offered for children ages 6-14.

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