Indian River State College seeks 50th consecutive national championship in swimming and diving

Team coached by former Olympian Sion Brinn
Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 16:36:42-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Winning a college championship is always a major accomplishment. But there's a local college team that has been taking it to the next level for decades.

Indian River State College's swimming and diving teams have been racking up national titles for years.

Last year, the women's team captured its 45th overall title while the men secured its 49th consecutive team championship in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA).
Now, the men are looking to add to the school's hardware and win a 50th consecutive national championship.

The road to the 2024 National Junior College Swim and Diving National Championship runs through the legendary school.

In the swimming world, Indian River State College is among the best.

Sion Brinn speaks about the success of Indian River State College and the team's pursuit of another title.
Sion Brinn speaks about the success of Indian River State College and the team's pursuit of another title.

"This is the 50th year of the NJCAA Swim National Championships," Sion Brinn, who is in his 11th year as head coach, said. "We've won 49 in a row. Obviously, our goal is to win the 50th, but we have a lot of work to do for it."

The championship pedigree starts with the team's head coach. Brinn is a former Olympian, national junior college all-American and hall of famer.

"I swam here back in the early 90s. I was a freshman and sophomore," Brinn said. "At the time, like a normal 18, 19-year-old, you don't know the impact of the whole thing, but you know when it happens, you're pretty excited."

Going into the championship competition, IRSC will be one of 14 teams, the coach said he's honed in on the task.

"We got a lot of alumni that have been coming into kind of watch the events it should be a pretty exciting time," Brinn said.

Sophomore diver Rocco Simonelli discusses what it will take to win another national title at Indian River State College.
Sophomore diver Rocco Simonelli is seeking his second national title while attending Indian River State College.

Sophomore diver Rocco Simonelli, who is committed to Florida Atlantic University, experienced a championship last year and says he's ready to keep the tradition going.

"It's been a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything else," Simonelli said.

Simonelli admits he's feeling the pressure to perform well and win a national championship.

"I like to think one at a time. You can't do all of your dives at once," Simonelli said. "You have to stay focused, even if it's a bad one, on to the next."

The sophomore's calm demeanor, yet poised presence, starts with his head coach, who admits he feels the pressure too and doesn't want to be the one who loses the championship streak.

"It's more nerves than anything right now. It typically takes about the second or third day before you start to relax and calm down," Brinn said. "That's when I guess it gets on the emotional side. I don't really share my emotions very much. I just take it day by day."

The championships are taking place from March 6-9 in Fort Pierce.