Federal Way schools hire Olympic medalist to coach diving

Kelly (McCormick) Robertson, pictured here in 1984, was recently hired to coach divers in the Federal Way School District. Robertson won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics and a bronze in the 1988 Olympics. - Courtesy of Team USA
Kelly (McCormick) Robertson, pictured here in 1984, was recently hired to coach divers in the Federal Way School District. Robertson won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics and a bronze in the 1988 Olympics.
— image credit: Courtesy of Team USA

To say the new Federal Way School District diving coach has an impressive resume would be quite an understatement.

Kelly (McCormick) Robertston was hired last week by the district to coach divers from Federal Way, Decatur, Thomas Jefferson and Todd Beamer high schools. She replaces Tim Fraychineaud.

“We are very excited to have Kelly here,” said Greg Flynn, the Federal Way school district’s athletic liaison. “She is great.”

Robertson spent 10 years on the United States National Diving Team from 1981 to 1991. During that span, she won 10 national titles and competed in two Olympic Games. She was also a two-time gold medalist in at the Pan American Games and was named the diver of the century at Ohio State University.

At the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, Robertson finished with a silver medal in the springboard event as a 24-year-old. Four years later, in Seoul, South Korea, Robertson won a bronze medal.

Robertson battled injuries to make both Olympic teams. Before the 1984 Olympic Trials, she was in the hospital for six weeks because of a back injury.

Four years later, Robertson encountered a torn calf muscle that would affect her hopes of making the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. But she dominated at the 1988 Olympic Trials, qualifying her for her second Olympic Games.

More injuries accompanied her diving career after the 1988 Games, and she chose to leave the sport without any more Olympic appearances.

Robertson’s coaching career started after back problems held her back from making the United States Olympic Team before the 1992 Games in Spain. After finishing seventh at the 1990 Goodwill Games, which took place at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, she moved to the Seattle area with her husband and began coaching diving in 1991.

Robertson coached her own diving team for 13 years, but dissolved the team because of her children’s schedules. Three of her divers are currently competing at Louisiana State University, Cleveland State and Ohio State on full scholarships. She most recently worked with the Puyallup School District as a high school coach.

She also comes from one of the most famous diving family’s in the history of the United States. Robertson’s mother, Pat McCormick, is a two-time Olympic champion and they are the only mother-daughter, medal-winning duo in the history of the Olympic Games.

McCormick was a daredevil throughout her childhood in the ‘30s and ‘40s, executing dives that women were not permitted to do in international competition at that time. Most men wouldn’t even try the dives she carried out.

In 1952, she made her debut at the Games in Helsinki, Finland, and swept both the springboard competition and the platform competition. She followed four years later in Melbourne, Australia, by sweeping both competitions for the second time.

In 1965, The International Swimming Hall of Fame inducted McCormick as the first diver to capture gold in both events at two consecutive Olympic Games. She is still the only woman to accomplish the double-double in the sport.

Robertson joined her mother in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1999.

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