MOULTRIE - Moss Farms Diving prints a program for its annual Moose Moss Invitational diving meet and in it are 12 pages devoted to the accomplishments of the athletes who have competed as part of one the nation's top diving programs.

And Tonya Mims's name appears no less than 18 times in those pages.

Now 13 years removed from one of the finest age-group careers of a Moss Farms product, Tonya Mims Bryan will become the third Moss Farms diver selected for the Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame.

Bryan will join the 21 other members of the Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame's 2003 class at the induction banquet to be held Oct. 16 at the Colquitt County High cafeteria.

Already representing the diving program in the Hall of Fame are Moose Moss, Bryan's coach who started the program in the pool of his Doerun-area farm in the 1960s; his daughter Peggy Moss Benner, also an outstanding diver; and Brad Baell, Bryan's former Moss Farms teammate, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.

Bryan said one of her earliest memories of diving is of being on the deck of the Moss pool watching her older brother Vance dive.

"And Mr. Moss told me to go up there and do so-and-so,"Bryan said recently, guessing she was about 5 years old at the time.

What she did once she climbed to the springboard must have impressed the legendary coach.

In not too many years, she had joined Benner and Drew Gunnels as one of the program's most successful female dives.

Bryan blossomed under the tutelage of the tough but caring Moose Moss.

"He was one of a kind," she said. "He was an incredible coach. He knew how to squeeze the last drop of potential out of you."

But there was another side of him that she recalls just as fondly.

"I'll always remember him as a gentle, grandfather figure," she said.

By 1985, she was a silver medalist on the 1-meter board in 12-and-under age group in the National Junior Olympic competition in Lincoln, Neb; was named to the Junior Olympic All America team and was the Georgia Diver of the Year.

Two years later, she became a member of the U.S. National Junior Olympic Team and represented the country in a pair of meets in Europe. Competing in the 14-15 age group, she won gold medals on both the 1- and 3-meter springboards in Barcelona, Spain, and took a silver medal on the 3-meter board in Monheim, Germany.

She also was the runner-up in the state high school meet and again was Georgia's female Diver of the Year.

In 1988, she won the gold medal at the YMCA national championships on the 3-meter board and brought home the silver in the 1-meter competition. She also began a string of three straight state high school championships that year and was named a high school All-America for the first time. She repeated that honor the following year.

The following year, she was the silver medalist on the 3-meter board at YMCA Nationals, was the state's Junior Olympic Diver of the Year and was a high school All- American.

In 1990, in her senior year of high school, Bryan won the YMCA national championship on the 1-meter board and finished second on 3-meter and earned a scholarship to dive at Clemson. Bryan left Clemson after a semester to return to south Georgia.

"It was time to start something new," she said.

She attendedAbraham Baldwin College and Darton College, where she entered the nursing program and she became a registered nurse in 1994. She currently works in a residency program in Albany.

That also was the year she married Matt Bryan, whom she had met on a blind date. The two live in Leary, where Matt farms. They have three children: Rebecca 6; Jacob, who will be 4 in November; and John, who is 8 months.

Looking back, her diving career "seemed normal to me," she said, saying she still remembers summer days spent training at the Moss Farms pool and eating lunch in the pool house.

And she says she still appreciates the support she received.

"We went all over the U.S.," she said. "It just opened your eyes to a whole world out there.

"And my parents (Barbara and Melvin Mims) and Mr. Moss were always encouraging me. Without them, I would never have had those opportunities."

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