John Ames, who has become a staple of the Georgia Tech program, enters his 18th year overall as the diving coach for the Yellow Jackets’ swimming & diving program in 2018-19. He came to The Flats in August 2001.
Under Ames’ guidance, Tech divers continue to excel at the national level while rewriting the program record books.
Over his time on The Flats, seven different Yellow Jacket drivers have qualified and competed at the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships in multiple events – Evan Stowers (2006 & 2007), Stephanie England (2008), Hannah Krimm (2008), Brandon Makinson (2011), Shannon Lumbra (2015), Brad Homza (2015 & 2016) and Matt Casillas (2018) – while combined the group has totaled eight NCAA all-America and honorable mention honors.
The success has extended beyond the pool as the Yellow Jackets have annually been one of the nation’s top academic swimming & diving programs. The men’s swimming & diving team has earned APR Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16, while both the men’s and women’s programs annually receive CSCAA scholar all-America team honors, with over 25 divers having garnered CSCAA scholar all-America and all-America honorable mention honorees since 2001.
Ames’ divers own the Georgia Tech record book on both the women’s and men’s side in all three diving events – 1-meter, 3-meter and platform dives – with the top-10 in all three events comprised of divers that competed for Tech from 2005 and on under Ames’ tutelage.
Matt Casillas set the new school record in the men’s 3-meter dive in 2017-18 with a score of 424.95, eclipsing Brandon Makinson’s record of 422.55 set back in 2013. Brad Homza set the record in the men’s platform dive with a score of 436.25 in 2016, while Makinson is still the record holder in the 1-meter dive with a score of 388.50 from 2012.
On the women’s side, Camryn Hidalgo broke the Tech record in both the 1-meter (331.35) and the 3-meter (362.10) dives in 2017-18, which were previously set back in 2016 and 2005, respectively, while Stephanie England set the record in the platform dive in 2007 with her score of 308.25.
He has coached arguably Tech’s most decorated divers in Hannah Krimm, Stephanie England, Evan Stowers and Brad Homza.
Ames coached Tech’s first female diving all-American as then-sophomore Krimm finished seventh on the 3-meter springboard at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Krimm was also recognized as an honorable mention all-American on the 1-meter board, while England was an honorable mention all-American in both the 3-meter and platform events in 2008. The Tech divers accounted for all 21 of the Jackets’ total points at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships to lead them to a 30th-place finish — the highest in program history.
Under Ames’ guidance, Stowers became the first-ever Tech diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships in 2006. At the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Stowers again made history by finishing seventh on the men’s platform, becoming the first Tech diver to garner all-America honors after becoming only the Jackets’ second-ever ACC individual champion in diving. Stowers returned to the NCAA Championships in 2017, earning all-America honors for the second-consecutive season.
Homza, who became Tech’s third ACC Champion in diving in 2016 on the men’s platform event, earned NCAA all-America honors with an 11th-place finish in the 1-meter dive at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Along with his coaching duties at Tech, Ames also mentors the Atlanta Diving Association, which has become one of the top United States Diving programs in the state of Georgia.
Hired in August 2001, Ames came to Tech from George Washington University and the Montgomery Dive Club, one of the largest diving programs in the nation. Prior to his stint with Montgomery and George Washington, Ames served as an assistant coach with the Northern Virginia Dive Club. He also worked as a graduate assistant and diving coach at Western Illinois University.
Ames graduated from Ohio University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology after completing his collegiate diving career with the Bobcats. He earned a master’s degree in sport administration while at Western Illinois.