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Dominic Roberto makes history in Ohio

Photo Courtesy of Jim Libecco

There are many ways to leave a legacy in your high school career– valedictorian, star performer, activist. Senior, Dominic Roberto has not only left a legacy but has also made history in the state of Ohio as the first diver to compete and win states all four years of high school. As SHS celebrates Roberto’s legacy, it’s important to look into what makes the young diver so successful.

With Roberto’s achievements being unprecedented it’s important to make a distinction between his love for diving and the value of winning. Sometimes athletes have a hard time creating that distinction, with that being said, this is not the case with Roberto.

“As much as I love winning, there will always be a better athlete and competitor than me,” Roberto said. “So it’s important to stay humble and remember the reason that I started the sport to mainly have fun. I’ve always valued making memories on the pool deck with my teammates more than winning.

“To make my other competitors smile and build relationships with them, that will always be more important than winning. On top of all that, making my supporters proud. For example, my parents, my sister, my friends and everyone who loves me and supports me. I always try to do my best so I can express my talent to something bigger than myself for them.”

As these meets can be daunting as diving isn’t your typical sport, sometimes competitors may experience mental blocks, but Roberto has established a method to try and avoid anxiety and promote success.

“Before every meet, I visualize every possible thing that can go right, and go wrong during my meet, so when it happens there is no surprise,” Roberto said. “I do a lot of prayer and meditation to calm my nerves. And I was never a big believer of mindfulness until I tried it. So I just think it’s really cool to share because there is just so much that goes into the sport that people don’t see.”

Roberto states that it’s more than just team its a culture, although this is a luxury there will be a point when an athlete’s career comes to an end it can be hard to leave the memories behind.

“It’s been nothing but love from this sport for the last four years. My coaches, teammates, competitors, it’s just been such an amazing experience,” Roberto said.

“So when I look back on my high school career, yeah I’ll remember the winning, but what I’ll really remember is all the amazing memories I’ve made with coaches and friends.”

Teammate and sophomore, Mitchell Caldwell, has been diving with Roberto for seven years and over the years developed a sense of respect and admiration for Roberto.

“He brought energy and was super fun to be around, he always inspired me to work harder and give 100% at practices,” Caldwell said. “I see Dom at OSU and being super successful and continuing to do his best.”

Though Roberto has already accomplished a lot, his career has only begun. When moving forward it is important to live in the moment while simultaneously not getting caught up in the glory.

“I think the main thing is remembering how many people have helped me to get where I am today,” Roberto said. “Remember that none of my accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without my parents, sister, friends, teammates, coaches, teachers and anyone else that has helped me get to where I am today.”

Through it all, Roberto has still managed to have a life outside of diving and more importantly has been able to prioritize a life outside of diving. Roberto feels that it is vital to acknowledge the struggle and share the methods that got him through it.

“Sports, school and life in general can be a lot to balance,” Roberto said. “Sometimes it can get really difficult to proceed and stay strong during hard times of training. So I just wanna send a message out there for anyone who may be having a hard time whether it’s life, relationships, sports, school, home life, and just let that person know, that as long as you do the best you can do with what you have in that moment, and give 110% effort to be your best, everything will be okay.”

Roberto’s coach, Taylor Epstein, has coached him for over four years acknowledging his unique attributes that make him more than just your typical athlete. Roberto has various skills that have led him to such success.

“Dominic has self-motivation and self-discipline,” Epstein said. “He accepts criticism and is not afraid of failure.”

Due to the fact that it’s not a traditional team sport, Roberto is able to still hold strong connections with his coaches and teammates, while simultaneously sharing his success with those around him and maintaining a humble attitude.

“The humble athlete acknowledges the contribution of others,” Epstein said. “No athlete accomplishes anything alone. The humble athlete gives glory for all his athletic accomplishments to God. He knows that all of his athletic skill is ultimately a gift from God.”

According to Epstein, as he continues to master skills in the pool it is of equal importance to continue growing outside of the pool as well.

“Diving is not a typical sport, it is extremely mental,” Epstein said. “Over the years, Dominic learned to channel his inner strength, trust his coaches and trust the process. But most importantly, he has gained self-confidence.”

Roberto’s journey has just begun and he still has so much more to experience and compete, as he will continue his diving career at the Ohio State University. Although this is the end of Roberto’s high school journey, Eptsein asserts that his ideals, personality and philosophy will be remembered at SHS.

“He [will] leave behind a positive role model, fostering inclusivity, and inspiring others to reach their full potential,” Epstein said. “Being a leader who listens, supports, and empowers your fellow students.”

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