Viera’s Rousseau goes back-to-back at state diving meet


Viera High's Sarah Rousseau won her second state diving championship last month, making her the first individual athlete in school history to win back-to-back state titles.

photo by Carl Kotala

Sarah Rousseau has done it again.

The Viera High diver made school history last year when she became just the second person — and the first girl — in the Hawks’ swimming and diving program to win a gold medal at the Class 3A state meet.

Now the junior is the first individual in the history of the entire school to win back-to-back state championships.

Rousseau scored 463.25 points in the 1-meter diving competition at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart, easily outdistancing Olivia Ricard, a talented sophomore from Gulf Coast High School, who totaled 418.75.

“I was just happy, thankful and very excited for the opportunity,” Rousseau said.

That’s Sarah Rousseau for you. Where some people might become a little cocky with success, she is about as humble as they come.

The 16-year-old also keeps quite the schedule, training four hours a day, five days a week while also taking virtual honors and AP classes.

“What impresses me most about Sarah is her dedication to the sport of diving,” Viera High diving coach Randy Just wrote in an email. “She willingly puts in long hours at practice. Not only does she put in in many hours at the pool, but she also spends hours in dry land training, conditioning and weight lifting.”

Just is one of three coaches Rousseau works with. Bill Talbot of Sunrise Springboard Diving in Satellite Beach first started working with Rousseau eight years ago when she was introduced to the sport and even predicted she would win a state title one day.

She also works with Yaidel Gamboa, who is now the head diving coach at Florida Atlantic University.

After finishing fifth at the state meet as a freshman, Rousseau broke through last year when she joined another diver, Luke Zippi (2009), as the only members of the Viera High swimming and diving program to win a gold medal.

That should have given her a world of confidence going into this year’s state meet, but Rousseau said her approach didn’t change.

“Anything can happen during a meet, so I went in with the same mindset like last year,” she said, adding, “I could have done better on some of my dives, but overall it was still a pretty good meet.”

Though she hasn’t contemplated going for a three-peat, Rosseau has started to think about where she would like to go to college, mentioning unofficial trips to Florida State and North Carolina and possible trips to Alabama and Texas. And after winning the preliminaries and reaching the semifinals in the 1-meter springboard at the AT&T USA Diving Nationals in Moultrie, Ga. this summer, she’s even contemplating making a future run at the Olympics.

Right now, with no major meets until February, she’s just concentrating on getting better.

“Sarah is humble and talented,” Just said. “She is a great teammate. We are fortunate at Viera to have a whole diving team that is talented and supports each other. They set the bar very high for one another.”