RALEIGH — Holly Springs High School has a rooting interest in this year’s Summer Olympics. Andrew Capobianco, a 2017 graduate of the school, will compete in two diving events and represent the United States at the Tokyo Games.
Capobianco, 21, will compete in the 3-meter synchronized diving event with his partner, 2016 silver medalist Michael Hixon, on Wednesday. He has also qualified for the individual 3-meter diving event taking place on Aug. 2-3.
“We are blessed,” Capobianco’s father, Michael, told North State Journal.
Capobianco’s father said he knew from a young age — around 2 — that Andrew had talent and was “very, very different,” but that his participation in the Tokyo Games still seems “surreal.”
“I think when the opening ceremonies hit and, God willing, we get to see him walking out with the rest of the team, I think at that point it will be a lot more real,” Michael Capobianco said.
Born in Mineola, New York, Andrew is a former gymnast who won the level 8 Junior Olympic national title on floor exercise for his age group in 2013, overlapping with his start in diving while in seventh grade in 2011. That same year, he broke a 22-year-old high school diving record for Nassau County, New York.
After graduating from Holly Springs High School, Capobianco went on to dive for Indiana University where, at age 21, he became the 2012 NCAA champion for both the 3-meter and 1-meter events. He is a five-time junior national champion, holding wins in the 2014 1-meter, the 2015 3-meter, and the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Platform events.
The elder Capobianco said the entire family has rallied behind Andrew, including his two brothers: 23-year-old Christian and Andrew’s twin brother, Matthew.
Andrew has called his brother Matthew his “biggest inspiration because he shows me our resiliency and toughness,” Capobianco’s father said. Michael said Matthew is a “very bright kid,” adding that he overcame having a learning disability and also dealt with having seizures to graduate fourth in his class of 650 at Holly Springs High School. Matthew is currently studying pharmacology at UNC. Christian, Andrew’s older brother, is in his third year at graduate school at NC State University studying to become an exotic pet veterinarian.
Capobianco said his sons are “three very driven kids, three good souls — first and foremost. Just good kids.
“We try to take the blessing and try to push them forward,” he added.
When not diving, Andrew also works with special needs kids in sports activities as well as a program called “Lunch Buddies,” which aids special needs students in socializing during mealtimes.
“Andrew is a very talented diver, but what makes us most proud is the man that he has become,” his father said.
Michael credited Andrew’s coach, Drew Johansen, with being “as gifted a coach” as his son is a diver. He also said right now they only worry about “one day at a time and one dive at a time.”
Andrew has a wealth of experience heading into his Olympic debut. On the world championship stage, he earned an eighth-place finish for the synchronized 3-meter event and a bronze for the mixed team event in 2019. In 2017, he placed 10th for the mixed synchronized 10-meter.
His other career highlights include being a 2019 Pan-American Games team member (bronze, 1-meter and synchronized 3-meter); 2018 World Cup team member; three-time senior national champion (two individual 3-meter titles, one synchronized 3-meter title); 2014 and 2016 Junior World Championships team member; and 2015 Junior Pan-American Championships team member.