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Men’s Diving: Senior Geary’s leadership shines outside of pool

Joseph Monardo | Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Many important victories in sports today end with a trip to Disney World, but senior diver Nathan Geary’s fantastic career as a student-athlete began with a trip to the Magic Kingdom.

This year’s Big East champion from the 3-meter board, Geary is also the Vice-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and has participated in a number of leadership opportunities during his time at Notre Dame, dating back to his first year of college.

“After freshman year, I was selected to go to a leadership camp at Disney,” Geary said, “and I was the sole athlete selected from Notre Dame to go to this, so after that it was like the fast track to leadership.”

Irish Coach Tim Welsh, who nominated Geary as the University’s representative for the forum, says he recognized the leadership in his freshman diver three years ago.

“Nathan is a very outgoing, gregarious person very interested in the University, very interested in the team,” Welsh said. “We thought that he had the personal skills and the interest and the discipline to do a good job with it.”

Following his first conference, Geary developed an enthusiasm for leadership and for the cause of the student-athlete. After being a member of the Rosenthal Leadership Academy at Notre Dame during his sophomore year, Geary joined SAAC as a junior.

“I really liked the political side of athletics,” Geary said. “I felt like I was pretty involved in some of the meetings and with some of the issues we were dealing with and I put my name in for vice president.”

Geary was elected by last year’s SAAC officers, and his duties this year have included attending officer meetings, presiding over student-athlete meetings, and working closely with the Student Union Board (SUB) to put together information sessions for the student-athletes.

“The mission [of SAAC] is to make the student athlete’s experience all that it should be,” Geary said. “If there are problems that we see where student athletes are disadvantaged, we want to correct those.”

One of Geary’s main achievements as vice president was coordinating a SUB committee on career initiative that put the student-athletes through a “career boot camp,” which focused on transitioning into life after college and securing a job.

“That was a huge commitment,” Geary said. “It was something where I had to work with the SUB committee, talk about who we wanted to get there, what we wanted to be said — and then featuring the six people [speakers], meeting with the Career Center. It ended up being really successful.”

Geary understands from experience how difficult the life of a student-athlete can be, but he also realizes how rewarding the experience is.

“The time commitment is the most difficult thing [about being a student athlete],” Geary said. “The time demands are brutal, but it is so worth it. I wouldn’t have changed anything I’ve done.”

As he prepares for the upcoming NCAA Zone Diving tournament, Geary knows that he would have to deliver at a career-best performance in order to advance to the NCAA championships. Still, as someone who has experienced success in many different realms of life, Geary said he would be satisfied as long as at least one of his teammates performs well enough to qualify.

“Hopefully we’ll place really well,” Geary said, “But in the chance that I don’t make it, it’s not going to be the end of the world for me.”

It certainly will be no tragedy for Geary if his season does indeed end with the conclusion of the Zone tournament on March 13. A paramount example of success as a student-athlete, Geary has enjoyed a great career and has already been accepted to three law schools. The PLS major awaits decisions from seven other schools. His coach simplified how successful Geary has been in just a short sentence.

“He’s done it all,” he said.