All-American Diver Jake Burris Beats 30-Year Albion Record

Jake Burris, left, stands by Albion alum Ron Face, right. Adjacent to the divers is a 1-meter diving board; behind them is a three meter diving board. Ron Face scored a record of 564.15 points on the 1-meter eleven dive for Albion in 1989. Jake Burris, a senior from Chelsea, Michigan, broke the record, scoring a 596.40 in 2019. (Photo by Irene Corona.)

Albion diver Jake Burris broke Ron Face’s 1989 11-dive record for the 1-meter board on Jan. 12. Face, a Marshall resident, was expecting the record to be broken by the senior from Chelsea, Michigan. Although Face was not at the meet where Jake Burris broke his record, Face said “I was legitimately happy.”

Face (‘89) set the 11-dive record of 564.15 points at an away meet at Hillsdale College. During his Albion diving career, Face broke all four diving school records. But the record he set for 11 dives on the 1-meter board in 1989, as he puts it, “was going to last forever at a Division III school.”

“Numerous divers have come to Albion in the last 15 years, and they all took turns breaking [records], but I had the one that was laughably high,” said Face. “Even my high school girl who I coached — she was a high school national champion, four time state champion (she was better than me) — she would look at that record and kind of laugh at it and go, ‘How did you ever?’”

After graduating from Albion, Face coached diving at Albion High School for 23 years.

Current Albion College assistant swim coach MaryAnn Egnatuk was instrumental in Face’s diving and coaching career. She also helped him receive recognition in the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Face even coached against current Albion dive coach Eric Burris, Jake Burris’ father. Eric now plays a prime role in Jake’s diving career.

“It definitely gets frustrating,” said Jake Burris about his father’s role, “but I think it’s more fun than anything so it’s a weird dynamic but he’s been my coach my whole life so why not finish my career with him.”

In his time coaching against Eric, Face and Eric became friends, allowing him the opportunity to get to know Jake.

“There was a time in my first 10 years I even coached some kids that could have broken my record,” said Face, “Who better than Jake to break the record?” It requires a diver to vigorously practice technicality for greater performance.

Diving requires an expertise on the approach, form and splash of the dive. The dives range in directions: forwards, reverses, backwards, twisters and inwards. The form of the dive could be in straight, pike or tuck depending on the flexibility and technique of the diver. A judge rates the diver on a scale from one to ten, with one being low and ten being perfection.

During a swim meet, the pool deck should be silent during the diving section of the meet, allowing divers to concentrate on performing their technical event.

Burris, wearing a 2017 NCAA Division III championship shirt stands next to Albion’s diving sign at the Dean Aquatic Center. Burris picked up two All-American titles in the 2019 NCAA championships on March 22 and 23. (Photo by Patrick Smoker.)

“When I dive, I don’t really think about anything. I just try to have fun. I really focus down on 1-meter,” said Burris. “When you get in your head and over[-try] to do things, it’s just going to get downhill from there. So trying to keep that calm headedness to get where I want to be.”

Burris had multiple options to continue his diving career, including Division I schools. However, he gladly committed to Albion College.

“I chose Albion because I came on a recruiting trip,” said Burris. “Coach Jake Taylor promised a couple championships when I was here. Being a senior in high school, thinking about championships, that’s all you want to do.”

Burris entered Albion College with the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division II state champion Henry Swett. There was hope that either diver would break the record.

“I wouldn’t say there was pressure to break it, like in the back of my head it [was] nice to break that record to have majority of the records,” said Burris.

“Last year my back was pretty screwed up but good training over the summer helped me overcome that, where I could put myself in the best position to break that record this year,” said Burris.

Jake Burris’ stellar performance gave him the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Division III national meet for the fourth time, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He placed fifth for the 1-meter competition with a score of 480.75 and seventh in the 3-meter competition with a score of 516.75. He finishes the competitive meet with two All-American titles. 

Burris also finished as the MIAA Men’s Most Valuable Diver for the fourth time and MIAA 1-meter champion and 3-meter runner-up during the 2018-2019 year season.

About Irene Corona Avila 8 Articles
Irene is a first-year student and a prideful Georgia Peach from Atlanta. Adjusting to a new environment, Irene seeks for new adventures and perspectives, so if you see her around, don't be afraid to say hi! She is a biochemistry major with a concentration in neuroscience with the aspiration to become a medical researcher and neurosurgeon. But most importantly, she is driven by changing the world one person at a time. She is a strong believer that people aren't projects but humans.

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