Saturday Sports Buffet: Diving in – Bridgeport’s Lindsey earns SEC honor

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, February 7, 2015
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As Levi Lindsey entered high school, he thought about diving into a new sport – literally.

But the then budding gymnast’s family couldn’t swing the long drive for diving workouts.

Going in Headfirst

GOING IN HEADFIRST – Bridgeport’s Levi Lindsey earned SEC Diver of the Week after winning the 3-meter and platform in a meet with Cincinnati. Photo courtesy UK Athletics

“It was 65 miles away and my dad said he couldn’t drive me because of work,” Lindsey recalled. “When I turned 16, my parents said if I wanted to drive there I could.”

Just three years later, the Bridgeport native’s near-daily trek to Southlake for workouts has taken him where few could have envisioned.

This week, Lindsey was named the Southeastern Conference Diver of the Week. The University of Kentucky freshman swept the 3-meter and platform events in a meet against Cincinnati Jan. 30. He scored career highs in both events and qualified for the NCAA zone meet.

“I was really happy. I knew going into the meet I was going to do good and break my personal record,” Lindsey said. “I have a good shot of going to the NCAAs.”

Before taking up diving, Lindsey spent 12 years competing in trampoline and tumbling, rising to the Junior Olympic ranks.

“He started when he was 5 in gymnastics in trampoline and tumbling,” recalled his father, Milton Lindsey.

Making the Plunge

MAKING THE PLUNGE – After 12 years as a gymnast, Levi Lindsey has become a Division I diver in college. Photo courtesy UK Athletics

That background in gymnastics immediately paid dividends for Lindsey when he started diving, as he knew how to control his body while doing flips and twists.

“It helped tremendously,” he said. “I had been doing back triple [flips] since I was in fourth grade. In diving I just had to go an extra half turn.

“A lot of people I compete against now have a lot more experience diving. But I’m just as experienced because of my 12 years as a gymnast.”

The one difference that took some getting used to in making the switch from gymnastics to diving was the landing – going headfirst instead of on his feet.

“[In gymnastics] you were always told don’t land on your head,” Lindsey said. “Now, you land on your head.”

It didn’t take long, as Lindsey recalls, to adapt to diving and hone his technique. He qualified for the age group nationals and placed fourth in the 3-meter competition.

Along with the 3-meter, Lindsey competes in the platform. At first, he admits he was a little scared of making the plunge off the tower.

“I used to be scared but now I like it a lot,” he said. “My coach, Ted [Hautau], said I’m going to be a good tower diver. I’ve been listening to him. It’s now my favorite [event].”

In high school, Lindsey said few people in Bridgeport knew he dove. He said it wasn’t until around graduation, when his signing with Kentucky was announced, that people in his hometown knew of his talents.

“No one knew I was going to college for diving,” he said. “We had a lot of kids in my hometown getting scholarships for ag and 4-H. When it was announced I was going to such a big college, is when people got interested.

“I’m super grateful for this opportunity.”

With only three years’ experience, Lindsey said he’s far from reaching his potential.

“When I first started diving, I wasn’t very good. Then things started to click after that first phase,” he explained. “After another phase, more started to click. I’m still picking things up now.”

Lindsey has lofty ambitions, starting with his freshman season.

“Over four years, I want to go to the NCAAs,” Lindsey said. “I’m trying hard to get there this year. Hardly any freshmen go to the NCAAs but I know it’s in me.”

As he’s already proven, he’s willing to go to any lengths to accomplish his goal.


  • An unparalleled season of success continues on the hardwood for Wise County girls basketball teams. With two games remaining in the regular season, seven Wise County girls basketball teams are either in the playoffs or ensured themselves of a tiebreaker game. Decatur, Bridgeport, Paradise, Slidell and Boyd are guaranteed spots. Alvord and Northwest looked to punch their tickets Friday
  • Two girls basketball teams could be ending postseason droughts. Bridgeport is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Northwest Lady Texans are trying to make the postseason for the first time since 2009
  • The National Signing Day hoopla continues to grow each year. But as pointed out this week in multiple spots, the hype and stars around recruits’ names mean nothing now. A prime example was last Sunday’s big game. No five-star recruits were in the starting 22 for either team
  • Like everyone else, I couldn’t believe the Seahawks elected to throw the ball from the 1-yard line in the final minute Sunday instead of feeding the ball to Marshawn Lynch. But it’s not the first time I disagreed with a Pete Carroll decision with the game on the line. During the BCS title game against Texas, I couldn’t believe USC elected to go for it on fourth down near midfield late in the game instead of punting and pinning Vince Young and company deep on its end of the field
  • Softball scrimmages are underway and that means double duty for Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins. Along with coaching the softball team, he continues to fill in as the Lady Yellowjackets’ basketball coach for the ailing Lynn Cranfill
  • Last year, Isaac Davis emerged for the Slidell Greyhounds to average 21.8 points per game. This season, Tyler Maynard has topped Davis’ incredible year. After his 38-point night Tuesday, Maynard is averaging 24.5. That is 11 points more than his average last year.

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