The CMS-ence of Kendall Hollimon

The CMS-ence of Kendall Hollimon

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Winning a national title in diving would mean "everything" to senior Kendall Hollimon, who has finished fourth, fourth and third at the NCAA Championships in his first three seasons on the three-meter board. But only from an athletic standpoint, as Hollimon's overall student-athlete experience as a government and philosophy major at Claremont McKenna is what's really meant everything to him.

Hollimon and his diving teammates are preparing to compete at Axelrood Pool for the final time this weekend, as CMS hosts the 2020 SCIAC Diving Championships on Saturday and Sunday. The swimming portion of the SCIAC Championships will take place next week (Feb. 20-23) in Commerce, California, but the diving championships will be a week earlier, and Hollimon hopes to give the Stags an early head start in their quest to win this year's championship.

Odds are certainly in Hollimon's favor. He has been a perfect six-for-six winning league titles in his career, sweeping the one-meter and three-meter in each of his first three seasons. He is the favorite to repeat again, although he will certainly be pushed, particularly by a couple of talented divers from Pomona-Pitzer (Ben Willett, Jem Stern), who were less than 10 points behind him on the one-meter board in their dual meet this season.

After the SCIACs, Hollimon will head to the NCAA Regional Qualifiers on Feb. 28-29 at Trinity (Texas), and if all goes well there, he will make his fourth straight trip to the NCAA Division III Championships, which will be held March 18-21 in Greensboro, N.C. Last year, he earned 547.85 points on the three-meter to finish only five points out of first place, so he enters the postseason knowing that an individual national championship is certainly within the realm of possibility. 

"Winning a title to me would mean everything," Hollimon said. "This is my final year of diving, period, because after college there isn't really anywhere that you can do it competitively. So it would be a fantastic culmination of all of the work that I've put in. I'm just excited to perform my best, which is what is really important to me, but winning would be incredible."

Hollimon has also felt the culmination of all the work that he's put in academically pay off as well. His senior thesis, a combination of his government and philosophy majors, was titled "Suffrage Over Suffering: How Disenfranchisement Erodes the Legitimacy of Democratic Punishment", arguing that felons should not be stripped of their right to vote. The task of completing a thesis is always daunting, but Hollimon felt that his four-year courseload had him well prepared.  

"It's been really incredible to me to see how my entire academic journey has led me there," said Hollimon. "Whether I'm taking 'Black Intellectuals' with Professor Shields or 'Constitutional Law' with Professor Thomas, all of the knowledge that I have from all of my previous classes kind of coalesced into a base of knowledge that made it really easy to make a good thesis."

Beyond his academic workload, Hollimon has also been actively involved with the Kravis Lab for Social Impact throughout his four years. He's been a part of the CMC Model UN and the CMC Congress Simulation, and spent a semester away in Washington D.C., where he felt he gained "invaluable experience as to how to operate in the real world." He's been a SCIAC All-Academic and College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association Scholar All-American, and he says he he feels that he has never had to sacrifice any of his college experience in order to be successful.

"What I appreciate the most about CMC is that you can do athletics and academics, and still have time for extra-curriculars," he said. "I think that's enriched my experience immeasurably."

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