KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Bennett Greene and his dive coach Michael Wright are back home in East Tennessee after traveling to Santiago, Chile for the Junior Pan American Championship.
For Greene, 13, the Jr. Pan American Championship is the highest level of competition for his age group, and he was pleased to take home the silver and bronze medals.
"I have some dives I still need to work on, but overall we did pretty good I think," Greene said.
"The moment of watching him and seeing things fall into place was a really proud coaching moment," said Wright. "Bennett was the only one from the state of Tennessee. There were 24 athletes in the entire country to get invited on this trip."
Greene first had to place in the top two at the national diving competition, and qualify at zone and regional meets before that to be invited to join Team USA.
He said he spends several hours a day training.
"We train year-round. In the summertime, it's five hours a day," Greene said.
While each dive is different, Greene said it can take roughly three months to learn a dive, practice it, and perfect it for competition.
With the Jr. Pan American Championship behind him, Greene has his sights set on another big competition.
"Hopefully, by 2024, compete in the Olympics," Greene said.
At 13, he's too young to even compete to be on Team USA, but he'll turn 14 before the summer's Olympic Trials. That means, if he qualifies, he can dive at trials, but will still remain too young to make the team.
"His work ethic has been a contributor to his success. We have a lot of kids who start young and not everyone makes it to this level, but when you put in that hard work and dedication and listen to what your coaches tell you, it really pays off," Wright said.
In 2017, Greene won the gold medal on the 3-meter, platform divisions at the Jr. Pan American Championships.