Bloomfield Hills grad excelled in first year back on the diving board

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 3, 2017

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — This was a troubled relationship, the bloom on the rose losing its luster.

And while it was hardly an easy choice, a breakup was needed.

As just an eighth-grader, Ryan McClelland knew that was the case for him and his love of diving, a sport he had grown into, and subsequently out of.

“The passion was gone,” McClelland said. “The desire and commitment just wasn’t there anymore.”

All relationship puns aside, McClelland was ready to move on from diving, and as he entered high school, hockey became his main focus.

In 2016, the Bloomfield Hills High grad headed to John Carroll University in Ohio with every intention of continuing a career on the ice.

“And I realized I kind of missed diving,” he said last week. “For some reason, I just thought I’d try and get back into it.”

Like riding a bike, more or less, the skill never faded.

The passion quickly returned as well.

“The love for the sport rekindled,” McClelland said. “That passion I remember as a kid came back.”

There was some uncertainty at first.

“I didn’t know the guys or much about the team,” he said. “But I stuck with it a few weeks, and pretty soon, it started to click. I felt comfortable, like my coordination skills never went away. It was kind of nostalgic, but habitual.”

The focus, the unrelenting demand and time requirement is what pulled McClelland away as an eighth-grader.

He also considered that a lesson learned.

“My goal was to just have fun with it,” he said.

The success certainly helped.

The JCU freshman hit the ground running, winning every event during the regular season before taking first place in the Ohio Athletic Association finals.

He was named OAC Diver of the Year, placed ninth at the regional event and earned a spot on the NCAA national team, where he earned honorable mention All-American after taking 12th in the 1-meter dive in mid-March.

“I was a little surprised with all of that,” McClelland said. “It was a pretty good year.”

With his freshman season behind him, McClelland said he’s approaching the sport one year at a time.

“I’m working at it,” he explained.

His main focus is his academics and a career he hopes to one day have in creative marketing.

“I want to be part of something new, something creative and innovative,” he said.

Like walking onto the swimming and diving team, like he had never left.