By Samantha Searles
FRAMINGHAM – Former Massachusetts State Champion diver halia Bower, now diving for the University of Alabama was named to the 2021 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Community Service Team.
The team serves to “…highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts.”
Bower, a junior, lead her teammates in community service hours in multiple projects.
Her work, as posted on the SEC website, includes: “Habitat for Humanity, the Crimson Tide’s Halloween Extravaganza, Night to Shine, [and] Project Angel Tree as well as the Lee County Tornado Relief efforts. As a member of Alabama’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Bower also helps direct the Crimson Tide’s overall community service efforts.
A two-year honorable mention CSCAA Scholar All-American, as well as a two-year member of Alabama’s NCAA Zone B and SEC
Championship squad, Bower has been a fixture on the Dean’s List (3.5-or-better grade point average) throughout her Alabama career.
This work has been a fixture of Bower’s college journey, beginning in her freshman year.
“…In my first two years at school I worked with athletics to be a part of events that were put on for kids in our community,” she said. “[These
included] our yearly Crimson Tide Halloween Extravaganza where athletes dress up and kids from Tuscaloosa come to our indoor football field in their Halloween… I also worked on a project called Project Angel Tree where [myself] and other athletes wrap gifts for children in need in our community and put on a Christmas for them,” said Bower.
” I also went to the Night to Shine Prom event that is sponsored by Tim Tebow… a prom that is put on for high schoolers with special needs. It was so much fun because everyone was dressed in dresses and suits and we danced all night with them, pre-COVID of course,” explained Bower.
“My freshman year, I went to Lee County, Alabama with my fellow student-athletes and we worked with a local church and Auburn student-athletes to build walls for houses of people that lost their homes in a tornado… It was a great way to get involved with another community across the state and work with our rival school to help people who need it,” said Bower.
Bower has been in the aquatics world for more than half of her life.
“I got involved in diving when I was around 8 years old because my parents put me in lessons at Harvard University,” said the 2018 Framingham High graduate. “Since my uncle was a diver, my family wanted my brother and I to try it, and I ended up loving it because of the people and how much fun I was having.”
Halia’s uncle, the late Scott Pomerleau, was heavily involved in Alabama’s aquatics before a tragic accident.
Bower is proud of her family’s traditions.
“It is the best feeling in the world knowing that I have a family tie to Alabama and diving,” she said. “He has an incredible legacy at ‘bama, and I am excited to be following in it while also creating my own legacy. The 10-meter tower is dedicated to him, and there is a plaque on it with his name… I give it a little fist bump before every practice because I know he is cheering for me every day.”
Halia’s mother, RoniSue, said that her daughter’s greatest strengths are humility and a strong work ethic. “She’s very humble,” she said. “She works very hard – she’s had to work to put in all those hours in the pool and the weight room.”
Bower said her schedule is different than the standard college students. “The hardest part of being a student-athlete for me can be finding a solid social/school/athletic life balance. As an athlete at a bigger school, there are a lot of things that I have to sacrifice that would typically make up a normal college experience. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on the college life, but in the end it is 100% worth it because I am living the dream of diving at Alabama, and I am working hard at something I truly love and I would not want it any other way.”
When asked about competing with new COVID19 regulations, Bower said she has been fortunate.
“I feel very lucky to be in the position I am in here at Alabama because we have been able to have a somewhat normal season … It has been strange keeping myself to a strict bubble, but our team does what is necessary so that we can all keep training and competing with no hiccups. We are lucky to be at a school that tests us on a regular basis and follows the rules of the CDC to keep all our athletes
and staff safe and in the best positions athletically,” she said.
Bower hopes to further her competition journey as well as pursue a job within her major of finance.
“Next up for my diving career is hopefully punching a ticket to NCAAs before I graduate next year,” she said. “That has been my goal since I was about 12 years old, and I know that I am on track to make it happen. For the rest of my career outside of athletics at Bama I would like to continue supporting my community and helping them wherever I can. They are the ones who keep Alabama athletics on our feet and for that alone, I want to continue to give back to them.”
For the friends and family in Framingham, Bower sends a message of thanks. “I have family, friends, and coaches that I still talk to in Framingham, and I know they have been following my journey. I would like to tell them thank you for always rooting for me and encouraging me. I could not be the student-athlete I am today without them, and I am grateful that I can always call them up whenever I need and they will be there for me.”
Samantha Searles is 2021 Spring SOURCE intern. Searles is a senior at Suffolk, University and will graduate in May with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. She is passionate about bringing communities together through the news. When not in classes or writing, she is an activist and semi-professional theater actress. She is also a member of Queen City Improv, a NH improv group, and the favorite of her family’s AmStaff “puppy, Saffie.
Photo of Halia Bower courtesy