Thrown into the Deep End

Joey Justice Makes Name on HSE Diving in Sister’s Footsteps

Dupree Henry

Joey Justice walked into his last meet as a freshman diver with confidence. The strong chlorine aroma filled the air and he loved it. Justice knew he came a long way since walking into his first diving practice and thought that all the people who follow high school diving would soon know his name. However, the first words that hit Justice’s ears when he approached the judges were: “Aren’t you Hannah’s brother?”  

Justice joined the HSE diving team Oct. 2022 but found it difficult to start his own path with his sister, Hannah Justice, being one of the best divers to come out of HSE who now dives for Ball State University. Plus, Joey Justice was going into the season with no experience on the diving board. 

“I think [the coaches] saw my sister when they looked for new divers,” Joey Justice said. “[They] hoped that her abilities would translate to mine.” 

The coaches saw something in him, as the diving coach Debbie Clevenger, gave him the opportunity to dive in his first varsity meet. Joey Justice did not disappoint, scoring his personal best in that meet. However, it was not enough to keep his spot on the varsity team, as all of Joey Justice’s meets that followed were for junior varsity. He still lacked the necessary skill, experience and risk-taking needed to become a solidified diver on the team. This did not shake him, however, as he used this setback as fuel for the rest of the season. Even through his flaws, Joey Justice’s impression on the team and school was beginning to become evident.

“We appreciate him coming out and learning a sport that isn’t easy to learn,” Clevenger said. “But he helped the team, and he helped the school in that varsity meet.” 

In his last meet of the season, Joey Justice again broke his personal best, putting him third in the district for JV diving. This performance served as a wakeup call to the diving staff and his family.  

“He has come a long way since the beginning of the season,” his mom Laura Justice said.Some of his dives were interesting at the start, but they actually got really good towards the end.” 

Nonetheless, Joey Justice has been working hard and efficiently to make his name known, missing none of his practices since the start of the season. However, putting his name in the minds of his competitors, followers and teammates will not be an easy task, as his sister’s shadow still lingers over his shoulders.  

“It’s definitely going to be hard to get out of that shadow,” Joey Justice said. “But with time and effort, I can do it. 

Diving was a new beginning for Joey Justice, and many people feel intimidated by a challenge that is unfamiliar, especially when it comes to learning something one has never experienced before. However, if one dives headfirst into the challenge, it may not be as frightening as one makes it out to be. 

Just give it 100%,” Joey Justice said. “and makes sure you have fun while doing it.”