Even at age 11, Scott Lazeroff knew how to make an impression.
“I knew as soon as he walked in the door, I knew he’d have a good chance at the Olympic Trials,” said his first-time diving coach Cliff Devries.
Devries' assessment came despite Lazeroff being a late-comer to diving.
Though he had excelled at gymnastics, starting at age 4, Scott only became fascinated with diving due to a fortuitous set of circumstances.
He flew beautifully
“We belonged to Midvale Country Club,” recalls mother Shira, “and the club had a pool with a diving board.”
Dad Mark adds, “From the start, he just looked relaxed, graceful and natural somersaulting, twisting and piking. He flew beautifully.”
Once at the pool, young Scott quickly put his gymnastics training to work.
As Coach Devries saw, Scott had all the tools.
“When he first walked in,” he recalls, “he did a couple of jumps, and I could see his rhythm was great. His ability to find himself in the air was incredible, and he knew how to enter the water clearly with no splash.”
SUBHEAD: Overcoming an Obstacle: No Board for Practice
In high school, Scott continued to excel.
He won 3 straight State Sectional championships, breaking longstanding pool records.
In fact, he holds the current Section 5 record.
Scott's greatest accomplishment occurred in his senior year when he won a state championship.
Yet, while he consistently out-performed on the one- and three-meter boards, he was stymied in his specialty – platform diving.
The Rochester, NY-area had no platforms anywhere. There was no place for him to practice.
Dad Mark came to the rescue, driving Scott 60 miles to the University of Buffalo, two or three times a month, so he could practice at their facility and work with Coach Devries, as well as the UB diving coach.
A Natural Performer & Cool, Confident Crowd Pleaser
On top of all the technical skills, Scott also displayed another quality – showmanship.
Inevitably, in certain competitions judges pause the meet to sort out scoring situations.
The first time Scott was judged on the 10 meter platform event in Knoxville, TN, one of the usual pauses occurred.
As music played to fill the dead time, Scott took the opportunity to entertain the crowd.
Without prompting, totally sponstaneous, Scott began to dance on the board.
He shamelessly thrilled thousands with his incredible moves and a dazzling smile.
The crowd roared in approval!
Then coolly, confidently, he completed his dive....flawlessly.
Oh, by the way, he won his first age group National Championship in the process.
Looking for New Challenges
Scott's overcome more than long drives to Buffalo for a place to practice.
“I have ADHD,” he acknowledges. “I was diagnosed in Middle school. I've been taking pills my whole life. I can't focus really well. But I can't just sit around all the time. I have to be moving.”
Rather than let this situation keep him on the sidelines, Scott worked to overcome the challenge, channeling his restless energy, combined with the grace his coach and parents saw from the start, into an impressive devotion to diving.
“Lots of people can swing a golf club or make a basket,” Scott observes, “but not many can dive from a 10 meter platform.”
What does the future hold?
“After college I want to perform,” he states. “A cruise line or Cirque de Soleil would be great. Or maybe I'll try cliff diving and travel the world.”
Now that he's recently completed his degree in Public Administration at the University of Auburn (AL), for Scott Lazeroff, the sky's the limit