Former Slicer R.J. Walpole has made his way back to LPHS to lead the Slicer dive team.
Walpole started diving his freshman year at LaPorte High School and dove for three years before moving to Illinois his senior year. Walpole dove at Quince Senior High and placed 2nd at State that year. He continued to dive until his sophomore year in college at Illinois State.
Walpole’s departure from diving did not last long. After dive coach Mel Kovenz left for another job opportunity, former coach Bart Frank informed Walpole of the dive opening. Walpole accepted and returned to the Slicer Natatorium. He has currently been coaching for the boys’ and girls’ dive team at LaPorte for the last nine years.
Walpole hopes that his divers grow as athletes and as people under his lead by learning diving techniques and basics, sportsmanship, responsibility, and a love for the sport.
For Walpole, coaching is more than just a job. He sees it as a way to grow people.
“I love teaching them what I’ve learned over the years,” Walpole said.
Walpole’s impact can be felt in and out of the pool. Senior diver Toy Hayes could not imagine diving without the guidance of Walpole.
“He is the reason I’m where I am today. His countless hours he has put in helping me with school, work, and diving has pushed me to be a better me. I can’t thank him enough,” Hayes said.
Outside of diving, Walpole’s time is divided between work and family. Walpole owns his own construction company, Walpole Custom Building. He has been in that business with his colleagues for about 20 years. After that, he is a busy father and husband.
The winter season will most definitely be busy for Walpole with the many hats he wears, but he is looking forward to a great season with the divers. Come see the Slicer swimmers and divers at the next home meet on Thursday, November 5th at 5:00 p.m.