Diana Robbins has the honor of becoming the first diver to be inducted into the Keene State College Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.
Originally from East Longmeadow, Mass., Robbins was the first Keene State woman to qualify for national completion in diving. During her four-year career (1980–84), she went to two AIAW meets and two NCAA (Division II) Championships.
"Diana Robbins was an exceptional athlete. She was gifted, determined, gentle, graceful, and successful. Diana qualified for either the AIAW or NCAA Division II nationals in each of her four years and performed at the highest level." Said former KSC swim coach Steve Cone. "She was a willing student and, as she matured, the degree of difficulty in her dive list grew. It was amazing to watch her perform and it was a huge comfort to know that she was a point-generating contributor. Quiet on the outside, Diana was a passionate and fun-loving individual who brought out the best in everyone – and captured great memories for all of us. Diana Robbins richly deserves this recognition and represented Keene State College with class."
Highly competitive and talented on the board, the acrobatic Robbins elevated the Owls to among the top-tier swimming programs in New England. A four-time All-New England diver, she received the high point award as a freshman and still holds the Keene State record (239.35 points) in the three-meter event. She also was a top candidate for the Charlie Batterman Award, presented each year to the outstanding diver at the New England championships.
"Going up against strong competition made me a better diver," said Robbins. "It inspired and challenged me to perform at a higher level."
Growing up among a family of swimmers, Robbins was lured to the board by the acrobatics and her desire to do things well. A dedicated Robbins double dipped throughout her high school career, practicing not only at East Longmeadow High, but also at Westfield State, where she was able to train with Coach David Laing.
Winning the Western Mass. championship and placing second in the state, Robbins moved on to Keene State, where she set the standard for excellence on the board. Competing against top divers from around New England, Robbins came up just short in her bid for All-American honors, finishing 13th her junior season and 17th as a senior. "It was disappointing; I wanted to finish with a bang," she said.
"Once Diana set her mind to do it, she could do anything," said Doug Adams, the former diving coach at KSC. "She was a gifted athlete."
Excelling at all the required dives, Robbins said her favorite was the one-and-a-half somersault with a twist. "I never liked being the center of attention, but I always felt at home performing on the board," she said.
Robbins looks back at her Keene State days with fond memories. "I had a lot of good experiences that I could take into my professional life from a standpoint of teamwork and persistence," said Robins, who earned a degree in business management from KSC.
Robbins has worked for Lego Systems for the past 25 years.