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Tovornik ‘24 dives into a leadership role on the swim and dive team, driven by more than just the thrill of competition.

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Chase Tovornik ‘24 stepped up for the swim and dive team in a massive way. During his sophomore year, Chase decided to join the dive team along with three other swimmers at the time. The three didn’t seem to take it very seriously as the team wasn’t that competitive at the time—but not Chase. After the senior leaders on the dive team graduated, Chase kept his mind on rebuilding the dive team. 

“Coach Kevin Wagman kept on asking if anyone would be interested, continually saying how important dive points were in championship meets,” Chase said. “I had dove competitively before, but I answered the call along with three others and we were the first dive team formed since the pandemic.” 

Now, the dive team has over tripled in size, with 10 divers competing this season. Chase says he’s proud of how the team has grown, and with their performances in championships, scoring 89 points in the WMPSSDL Championship. 

“I give all credit of this glow up to Coach Anita, one of the greatest dive coaches in the area,” Chase said. “Without her countless hours of dedication, the team would cease to exist.”

Chase has shown his resilience every day being a captain of the Swim and Dive team, but he does this with an inner motivation. Right before Christmas, Chase’s brother, Jack Tovornik ‘27, was diagnosed with Leukemia, which was “an absolute gut punch,” as Chase put it. Not only would this put a mental strain on the Tovornik family, but the fact that Jack couldn’t swim was costly for the team, as well. Jack is a nationally ranked swimmer and would have been one of the key pieces to this championship roster. 

In light of this crushing diagnosis, Chase turned his pain into motivation for the team. 

“This season was for Jack,” he said. 

At National Catholics, the first championship meet of the season, Gonzaga tradition holds that we draw a black G on the right side of our chests. This year, Chase decided to add to it. On the left side of everyone’s chests, he drew a red ribbon with the letters “JT” above it; his brother’s initials. Even athletes outside of Gonzaga from rival schools, such as Good Counsel and Georgetown Prep, sported the red ribbon and initial combo to show their support. Chase said he and his family appreciate the support more than they can articulate.

“Watch the comeback story. Metros 2027. You ain’t ready,” Chase warned. 

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