Keller shakes off injury at Lehigh
Tyler Keller’s college diving career was put on hold before he even took one bounce off the board.
During a pick-up basketball game with some friends in September, the Lehigh freshman broke his fifth metatarsal. Surgery kept Keller out for the first half of the winter diving season.
“About a week later I got surgery, and three screws and one plate were installed on my foot to hold the bone in place,” Keller said.
“The hardest part for me was getting from class to class on Lehigh’s campus. The hills are very unforgiving and being on crutches made it 20 times worse. However, since I was patient and didn’t rush anything, my recovery was much quicker and I was back on the boards about a month later.”
There would be a comeback, and the entire season would not be lost. When Keller returned to the pool, he did so in historic fashion.
Keller, who has competed in Lehigh’s last four meets, has risen to the top of the charts. He recently outdueled Seton Hall’s Croldy Veliz in 1-meter diving in last week’s meet with the Pirates. Keller outscored Veliz 264.85 to 210.15. He also scored well in the 3-meter diving with 274.40 points.
Despite missing the first six meets, it looks as if Keller is in mid-season form as the Patriot League Championships are just two weeks away.
“During that time, [head coach Rob Herb] had me focus a lot on my form outside of the pool,” said Keller, “such as stretching and core work that has definitely improved since I got back on the boards.”
“Tyler is a great kid who is such an all around athlete,” Herb said. “His skill on the board will continue to improve as he gains more strength, confidence and experience. I cannot wait to see how he continues to develop. He will make diving history at Lehigh.”
Keller has already etched his name in the record books. Both of those scores against Seton Hall broke freshman diving records at Lehigh. His 3-meter score broke a record that was set back in 2005, while his 1-meter total broke his own freshman record he set earlier this season.
He credits much of his early-career success to Todd and Tara Michael at TNT Diving, which prepared him for the collegiate landscape.
“It was sort of close to what I expected,” Keller said. “I knew the diving level would be much more intense going into the collegiate level. But diving for AAU and USA Diving outside of high school definitely prepared me for this next level.”
The only remaining event on Lehigh’s schedule is the Patriot League Championships set for February 14-17 at Navy in Annapolis.
“My goal going into Patriots is to just dive my best and to see what championships is all about,” Keller said. “I would love to make top eight and go back for finals, but this meet I’m just focused on diving well and enjoying the experience.”