Clemson sophomore Bailey Warren was sitting on the side of the pool at McHugh Natatorium at Fike Field House with a friend watching the women’s diving team practice.
“I can do that,” she said.
Finally, after one of those practices, she walked up to head coach Leslie Hasselbach Adams and asked if they had tryouts for the team, “Because I was interested.”
Adams says her first impression of Warren was one of confidence. “I had seen her before sitting up in the stands watching us practice. She sought me out after one practice and walked right up and asked me if she could talk with me about the possibility of trying out for the team.”
“She told me they don’t have tryouts,” said Warren. “That they recruit divers and sometimes girls do walk-on.”
The two met at the office a week later.
“What qualifications do you have?” Adams asked Warren.
Warren told Adams about her experience with trampoline competition in high school and that she thought the techniques used were very similar to diving.
Warrens’ trampoline accolades included winning state and regional championships in both North Carolina and Washington state, as well as being named to the Twist and Tuck Team in North Carolina and to the Gymnastics East All-Star Team.
Adams asked Warren how good was she. “I told her I had competed in nine national trampoline championships,” said Warren. “That I had finished in the top-10 in seven and was the national champion in 2006.”
Adams told Warren she didn’t have any spots on the team at the time, but that she would keep her in mind if something happened and “…to be ready because she may be getting a phone call from me.”
That was in January.
In July, Warren got the call from Adams saying that one of their recruits decided to go elsewhere, and that Warren was the first person she thought of and would she like to walk on the team?
“I gave her the opportunity to walk on the team and not even have to try out,” said Adams.
Competitors need to know six different dives. Warren quickly learned all six that fall in less than two months and was able to participate in every meet her junior year on the one-meter board starting, with the first one in October.
Warren got another call the next year from Adams. “I was scared, said Warren. “I thought I was being cut from the team.” Quite the opposite happened. “I told her she would be joining us again, if she would like to,” said Adams. “This time on scholarship.”
“It’s really cool how great the Clemson family is,” says Warren. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to Clemson as much as my parents wanted me to come here.”
To say Warren has had a life-long connection to Clemson is the ultimate understatement. Her father, John (’85), and mother, Barbara (’83), are Clemson graduates. “My dad says he told me when I was born that I could go to any school I wanted to, but that I would be going to Clemson. Our house is covered in Clemson orange.
“I grew up watching my parents and their Clemson friends for years. They’d all have friendly chats during the week on the Tigernet website in the 90s, when it was just Clemson fans and friends all over the country connecting with each other, and then they’d all tailgate together at football games,” she added.
Following a move from Greensboro, N.C., to Delaware during Bailey’s elementary school years, John co- coached her youth soccer team.
The other coach? The father of a senior member of the Clemson women’s soccer team, Deana Sherry.
“It was neat reconnecting with Deana at Clemson our freshman year,” said Warren. “Since I’ve joined the diving team, we see each other more often in the weight and training rooms.
“Growing up, I was always involved in sports. When it came down to making the decision between soccer and trampoline as I got older, I picked trampoline.”
Injured the year following her 2006 national championship, Warren decided to switch to cheerleading, “Because I could still use my gymnastic skills, but it wasn’t as hard on my body.”
Her freshman year at Clemson, she tried out for cheerleading, but was one of the last girls cut in the final round.
“I decided then that I needed to find a new dream. I kind of just enjoyed college the rest of my freshman and sophomore years, and then I saw the diving team. Now I’m a diver,” she says proudly.
Adams said Warren has been a good diver. “It’s pretty gutsy to take on a new sport. She showed me the type of attitude she has, the fortitude she has to come into a sport she had never done before, to learn six dives in less than two months, to compete at this level and be a contributor in our program.
Adams said that Warren has impressed her since she walked up to her practice that day to inquire about becoming a diver “…to that moment when she will walk across that stage at graduation. She’s taught me lessons every day as well. Her not making the Clemson cheerleading squad was their loss and our gain. She’s been our team’s cheerleader for the past two years, and will continue to be so after she graduates as well.”
Warren says she loves Clemson and will miss diving after she receives her degree in sociology in December and heads off to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor for graduate school in January.
“I’m already counting down the number of practices and meets I have left before I leave,” said Warren.