Laura Duffy inducted into diving hall of fame

Courtesy of Melanie Krakauer

John Casey & Jonah Goodman, staff reporters

Laura Duffy, the GBS men’s diving coach, was inducted into the Illinois Diving Hall of Fame on March 11, 2015 at the Diplomat West Banquet Hall.

In her 19 years at South, Duffy has coached nine All Americans, 12 State Finalists, and has had a diver qualify for state every year she has coached at South.  She accredits a lot of her success as a coach to her high school coach and mentor Jim Will.

“I basically took his philosophy and made it my own, so I’m just a continuation of what he started,” Duffy Said

Duffy, the first woman inducted into the Illinois Diving Hall of Fame, initially received notice of her award via email.

“When I got the email I thought they wanted me to vote on who would be inducted,”Duffy said.

After realizing that she would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, she found herself shocked, with nothing more to say than “woah.”

At the night of ceremony, Duffy was joined by alumni Ryan Peschke ‘01, Tony Massery ‘04, Eric Campell ‘05, and Aaron Ach ‘15.

“It was really fun for me, I had some of my alumni come out because they found out I got this award,” Duffy said “One of them said he wanted to be there because he wanted to make sure I wasn’t lying.”

Since the start of the Hall of Fame in 1981, 18 coaches have been inducted, includingDuffy and her high school coach Jim Will. Duffy, who knows all but three coaches on the list, was flattered by her nomination.

“It’s really an honor,”  Duffy said. “When I look at the names on the list and what they have accomplished and to think that my name will be on that list is forevermore.”

One of Duffy’s most successful divers is three-time state champion, Wes Villaflor. The impact Duffy had on Villaflor is something that he believes will stay with him forever.

“While I was focusing on shaping my athletic future, Duffy was focused on shaping me into the person that I am today,” Villaflor said. “I think that speaks volumes to the reason Duffy was chosen to be inducted into the Illinois Diving Hall of Fame.”

Villaflor has many things that he enjoys about Duffy, but one thing in particular stands out more that the others.

“I realized that the best thing about Duffy is her genuine care and dedication to all of her divers,” Villaflor said.

Sally Villaflor, mother of Wes Villaflor, and her family were ecstatic to hear that Duffy would be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“We are thrilled about Laura Duffy’s induction into the Illinois Swimming & Diving Association Hall of Fame,” Sally said. “Laura not only taught Wes the technical diving skills that lead to three State Diving Championships but more importantly, taught him the life skills to guide him into the future.”

Diving has been a part of most of Duffy’s life, and she feels that diving has made her into the person she is today.

“Pretty much everything I am is due to diving,” Duffy said.