ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Meet the new UTPB Diving Team, Garrett Martin. He might be alone on the team, but he's already making name for himself, after qualifying for the NCAA nationals at his first collegiate event. It's a huge accomplishment but this freshman is just getting started.
"Do bigger dives and just destroy the new school records that I've set," said Martin.
Martin paired up with his longtime coach Jennifer Mangum.
"I'm not gonna lie, I've called her Mom a couple times by now," said Martin.
The duo is bringing college diving back to West Texas after a 30-year drought.
Martin, a Midland High alum, ended his senior year with a 6A state title, but his options to dive in college were slim because he missed out on competitions during prime recruiting time. He listened to a doctor who diagnosed him a degenerative disc disease and told him that he had to quit diving immediately.
"I stayed on the low board because that's all high school is and I think that's how I was able to progress so quickly. Since I was on a clock, I was actually motivated to finish the best I ever finished and I did," said Martin
Martin got a second opinion and learned that he his back problems were less serious than he was told and they could be improved through chiropractic care. Health scares are nothing new for Martin. He was born with a severe heart condition that forced him to undergo four open heart surgeries before he could legally drive. Martin says they've left scars but not excuses.
"I love my parents, they didn't give me the option to not do something. I went and did something and I'm doing something with it now," said Martin.
More open heart surgeries are in Martin's future, but this Falcon says he's not afraid. He's focusing on the now, diving into one day at a time.