RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Diane Maiese has dedicated her life to the sport of diving. Now, she’s hoping to open that door for others.

Maiese became the first black diver to win a college national championship at Division III Trenton State College. 

“Honestly, I did not (know). I wasn’t even aware of that as an accomplishment until just recently,” Maiese said.

“For me, I was just doing what I loved.

“I tell everyone it is exciting and it’s still sad because that happened over 22 years ago and I am still the only one.”

Then, she was the first to earn a head coaching job in Division I, a career which included a stop at the University of Richmond.

“Diving coach, mother, teacher, friend, I think that’s so a big part on why I never thought of myself as someone who is breaking barriers or accomplishing things that other people hadn’t before because I wasn’t driven by the color of my skin,” Maiese said.

Her goal now is to remove all barriers for entry to the sport.

“A couple of the parents and I have gotten together and formed DIVE RVA as a non-profit, not just as a diving team and our goal is to fill that void, so we will have a facility and so that it will be close enough to the city that anyone is able to try diving,” Maiese said. “A large part of it is accessibility, the location of pools, and the cost. Diving is not an inexpensive sport.”