Vines’ college career has been no different at Princeton, where he has been as dominant in the Ivy League as he was in Class A-AAAA during his prep years.
The senior standout has won two Ivy League diving championships in his first three years on the collegiate level and has helped Princeton win conference titles in all three of those seasons.
He also won the Ron Keenhold high point diver of the year award for his conference meet performances in 2011 and ’12.
“I’ve had a great career at Princeton,” Vines said. “Princeton has been the perfect fit for me. Going to an Ivy League school with high-caliber athletics and demanding academics has been a great experience.”
One thing that Vines has continued to do at Princeton is break the records of Billy Heinz, a standout diver at Westminster from 1967 through ’71 and at Princeton from ’71 through ’75.
Vines has surpassed Heinz’s records in the 1-meter, 3-meter and 3-meter dual meet events at Princeton after breaking his Westminster marks in the 1-meter six-dive and 11-dive competitions while in high school.
“To break Billy Heinz’s records at both Westminster and Princeton, that’s pretty cool,” Vines said.
Vines is off to a strong start in his final season at Princeton with wins in all five of his competitions — three at three meters and two at one meter.
“This season has been really good so far,” Vines said. “I’ve won every meet at 3 meters, so I’ve done everything that I can so far.”
Vines entered Princeton in 2009 with a strong pedigree, earning high school All-American honors from ’07 through ’09 and setting school record in both the six-dive and 11-dive 1-meter events to go along with his three state titles during his time at Westminster.
He also made his mark on the national level as a high school diver, winning the platform competition at the age group nationals in ’09.
Vines didn’t miss a beat in his freshman season at Princeton, earning second-team All-Ivy League honors with runner-up finishes in both the 1- and 3-meter competitions at the conference meet in 2010.
He raised his performance up a notch in ’11, when he was a first-team All-Ivy choice after winning the conference title in the 3-meter event and placed runner up at one meter.
It was the 2012 Ivy League championships that proved to be the pinnacle so far of Vines’ college career.
He won the 3-meter title for the second year in a row, breaking the conference, school and Princeton pool record with a score of 400.60 points — the first time in Ivy history that a diver broke the 400-point barrier for six optimal dives.
“Last year’s Ivy meet was the highlight of my career,” Vines said. “It was a goal of mine to break 400 points and to do it at the Ivy meet was amazing.”
Vines has also qualified for the NCAA Zone A diving championship, which will be held in March, for the fourth year in a row. He fell just short of earning a spot in the national meet his first three seasons.
“Qualifying for nationals is a big goal of mine,” Vines said. “It’s my last chance to do so and I’m looking forward to trying again.”
Princeton diving coach Greg Gunn praises Vines for his leadership abilities as well as his athletic achievements.
“Stevie is the heart, sole and backbone of the Princeton men’s and women’s diving team,” Gunn said. “He is a team leader, an academic and athletic role model and a highly effective ambassador for the team and the athletic department. He is a determined and confident — yet unassuming — athlete, who thoroughly loves the activity of diving and thrives in highly challenging and competitive environments.”
Vines — who was a member of the National Honor Society at Westminster — has also achieved success in the classroom at Princeton with a cumulative 3.41 grade point average and was an NCAA Academic All-American honorable mention selection in 2010 and ’12.
Majoring in psychology, with a minor in computer science, Vines is scheduled to graduate in June and is planning to move back to Atlanta to seek a software engineer position at a tech company.