As if nailing a dive from 10 meters up wasn’t a big enough challenge, former South Carolina All-American diver Allison (Brennan) Peck recently jumped from 12,500 feet for her first attempt at skydiving.
“That was a first,” Peck said with a laugh. “As you come out of the plane, you almost do a reverse flip half twist. There’s the plane, there’s the ground, square out, now here we go! It took my mind off everything else because I just went into flip mode. So, I thought, alright, diving mode!”
Fortunately, she nailed that as well and has her feet on the ground as she prepares to be one of eight former Gamecocks inducted into the University of South Carolina Association of Lettermen’s Athletics Hall of Fame on October 12, which is also a thrill for the 40-year-old.
“I was very excited and very honored,” said Peck upon hearing the news. “Just to be recognized is amazing!”
The Southern California native had plenty of reasons to be recognized. For starters, she won the first and only NCAA Championship by a South Carolina individual in swimming and diving as she captured the 2004 NCAA crown in the one-meter event.
“It means the world to me,” Peck said. “It was a goal of mine, and to have that come to fruition was an overwhelming feeling of excitement, success, and joy. It was so great just to be a part of our team’s success that year. I believe we finished 11th in the country that year, which was the highest we had ever been.”
Peck also won the U.S. Diving National Championship in the three-meter competition on the way to being named the 2004 South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame Female Amateur Athlete of the Year. Brennan was named SEC Diver of the Year and USC’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2006 after winning the conference title in both the one- and three-meter events and capturing runner-up honors at the NCAA Championships in the one-meter competition. She earned All-America honors four times and later went on to finish third at the Olympic Trials and was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2008 Olympic Games. She also finished fourth at the U.S. Diving Grand Prix in the three-meter event, third at U.S. Nationals in three-meter, and sixth at the 2007 World Championships in the one-meter, and posted several other top finishes internationally.
“In 2009, I ended up being the first American to beat the Chinese at a Grand Prix,” Peck said. “I won that in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Being an alternate for the Olympics was certainly a highlight, but coming back after that with a bang, kind of said, ‘I’m here!’”
“The teammates and the friendships that I made have lasted twenty-plus years and still going.”
With all of her accolades, she has plenty of other great memories of her time on campus.
“You can’t beat SEC football games!” Peck said. “You can’t beat an SEC tailgate and football game. Being there with my teammates, those were awesome times! Winning SEC Championships and NCAAs were the icing on the cake for the career I had at South Carolina. The teammates and the friendships that I made have lasted twenty-plus years and still going.”
She also spent some time as the assistant diving coach for the Gamecocks while she was training for international competition until she finished her career in 2012. She then became the head diving coach at Boise State University.
“It was a nice, easy transition from athlete to coach because I was both for a while,” Peck said. “Then of course life happens, and I got married.”
She married former South Carolina assistant football athletic trainer Nathan Peck, whom she had met at a staff Christmas Party in 2009. The couple has two daughters, seven-year-old Skylar and six-year-old Brooklyn.
She is now back in her home state, living in Fresno, California, where she works in consulting sales for Gardner.
“I work with Fortune 100 to 500 companies, working with their top mission critical priorities and helping them with their ROI to help them reach their corporate objectives,” Peck said. “It’s been a good transition. It’s like being an athlete where you have your goals, and you have that grit and that competitiveness. In sales, you want to be the best at it. I still get the thrill of competition with it.”
Don’t expect Peck to completely stay out of the pool however, as she is helping out a local club team at a nearby high school. Fortunately, her feet will be on solid ground when she returns to campus for Hall of Fame induction festivities.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all the other Hall of Famers and just reconnecting with a lot of my teammates and friends that are going to be there,” Peck said. “I have to say it though, one of the things I’m most excited about is letting my girls experience the SEC tailgating and football game and having them see Cocky come out! It gives me chills every time I hear ‘2001.’”