For Tyce Routson, hard work and dedication to his chosen sport paid off long ago.
A competitive diver from age 9, he continued to hone his skills in high school and then at the University of Miami, ultimately capturing four NCAA championships and becoming an 11-time All-American. He’s been called one of the most acclaimed divers in Miami history.
“That was a decade ago and life has changed a lot,” Rouston said.
Today, he and his wife, Allison, are the parents of three girls under the age of 4, and Routson works as a project manager for a company based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Yet, the thrill of victory and accomplishment came flooding back recently when Routson was honored again by being named to the University of Miami’s Sports Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
The requirement is that an individual has to have graduated 10 years prior to being inducted into hall of fame.
“It’s a real honor to get it right off the bat,” Routson said. “It’s an honor to be put back in that position, to be recognized among that class of athletes.”
He believes several things contributed to ultimately being named to the university's hall of fame.
“I’m not sure I had the most talent,” he said. “I did work hard and set goals for myself."
More than that, though, he gives credit to Miami coach Randy Ableman and his teammates.
“I had teammates who were better than me, in a good way,” Routson said. “It was always a foot race to keep up with them. They pushed me, and I hope I pushed my teammates as well.”
After Routson won two NCAA titles as a junior, some questioned his decision to leave school and serve a mission for the LDS Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“When I was having so much success, people were shocked and questioned why I was leaving," he said. "(But) it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.”
According mission rules, Routson didn’t so much as set foot in the water to practice diving for the two years he was gone. Yet he returned as a senior and managed to recapture his title that first year after he returned home.
Routson went on to become a member of the U.S. national team from 1994 to 1997, participating in the Olympic trials in 1996 and again in 2000 where he finished sixth, just missing the chance to compete in the Olympics.
He retired from diving after the 2000 Olympic trials.
“I was ready to enter the business world and to pursue some of the more important things in life, like meeting and marrying my eternal companion and starting a family together, rather than waiting another four years for the next Olympic trials,” Routson said.
Now he is a resident of Gilbert, Ariz., where he is a member of the Summerfield Ward in the Higley Arizona Stake, and he said he continues to rely on lessons learned during his diving career.
“The attitude I have of working hard toward something great is one thing I learned from diving,” Routson said. “I learned dedication and hard work and that if you put your mind to a certain goal of achieving greatness, it really pays off, even 10 years down the line."
Cecily Markland is a freelance writer, book editor, publicist and author of "Hope: One Mile Ahead" and the children’s book, "If I Made a Bug." She owns Inglestone Publishing and produces a calendar of LDS events in Arizona at www.cecilymarkland.com.