Sports Wheaton

From the mat to the boards: Coughlin-Doyle is making her mark on Wheaton’s diving program

Norton, Mass – Fueled by tofu, pineapple, and ice cream, junior Morgen Coughlin-Doyle (Topsham, Maine) has confidently become the standard of the Wheaton Diving program. Just a few years ago, the gymnastics standout from northern New England decided to trade the mat for the pool. Flash forward to now. After a stellar third campaign, Coughlin-Doyle is blazing a new trail of excellence on the diving board in Eastern Massachusetts. To say she has come a long way is frankly an understatement.

“I think I just kind of chose to do it myself,” the Mt. Ararat High School graduate said, explaining how she opted to compete in diving collegiately. “I did gymnastics throughout middle and high school, and I still wanted to do a sport, but not gymnastics. A lot of gymnasts transfer to diving pretty easily, so then I just emailed diving coaches for college. I thought it would be fun to try it out, and then it worked out.”

The Mainer described what has kept her going in the sport since freshman year.

“It’s just a lot of fun to flip and twist in the air,” she stated. “Also the feeling of accomplishment when I do a good dive—it’s really rewarding especially if I smack on a dive or I’m scared and I do it better.”

Don’t let the quiet demeanor fool you. The junior diver is a force to be reckoned with in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). Topsham’s own went into the final conference meet this year having finished first in four out of the five meets prior on both boards. In the conference championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the weekend of Feb. 22, Coughlin-Doyle was one of just four non-seniors to accumulate over 480 points in the three-meter diving finals.

Her score of 480.85 points shattered the previous school record set by 2020 graduate Maddy Morrison by almost 10 points. Within a year, the Maine native improved her score in the three-meter NEWMAC finals by an astounding 83.1 points. It was a larger improvement over the last year than the two divers that finished in third and fourth combined.

Coughlin-Doyle spoke on what usually goes through her head when all eyes are on her, the board, and the pool, stating, “I tell myself that I have maybe 3-5 things to focus on for each dive. Each dive, I focus on something different. If it’s a forward dive where I walk down the board, I count to three, and then I start walking, making sure I keep my head up and throw hard.”

The junior diver also set a new school high mark for the one meter, finishing in seventh place in the conference. Her point total of 436.60 in the one-meter finals was nearly 100 points more than she was able to compile in her first season as a Lyon. Her improvement since day one of picking up the sport is a testament to her drive to push the limits.

There’s a new benchmark future Lyons have to meet. For Coughlin-Doyle herself, the reality that she is that standard is still something she is still digesting.

“It’s really weird because I literally didn’t know how to dive two years ago. I’m super proud of myself for how far I’ve gotten, and it’s kind of motivating me to keep going,” she said.

Coughlin-Doyle’s excellence on the boards at NEWMACs punched her a ticket to the 2024 NCAA Division III Region 3 Diving Championships at Colby College up in her home state of Maine. The Environmental Science major was one of 50 divers, male or female, to have secured the right to compete on March 1-2. She didn’t just participate—she balled out. Coughlin-Doyle was one of just six divers in that competition from the NEWMAC to score at least 401 points in the three-meter championship. Her 16th-place finish at regionals was tied for the highest by a Lyon since Morrison, who did it back in 2019.

Her teammate, Isabella Barrett (Wakefield, Mass) explained what she has seen since the first day Coughlin-Doyle made the move to the pool.

“She’s definitely very brave, and very strong,” Barrett said. “I am very impressed with how she has picked things up so easily.”

If you haven’t made it over to see a swim and dive meet at Balfour Natatorium before, you’re sorely missing out. There are some really talented Lyons who call the pool their second home. One of them is usually flying from above (without a cape) instead of gliding through the water. Coughlin-Doyle’s growth is quite remarkable. Her journey in Norton isn’t over just yet, though. One more year of flips, twists, and tucks.