Olympic diving competitions are probably pretty popular these days across the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana.

Two divers from parishes in the Lafayette Diocese - Mary Beth Dunnichay of St. Joseph Church in Elwood and David Boudia of Our Lady of Grace Church in Noblesville, Ind. - were among the hundreds of American athletes competing on the world stage during the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Observers said Boudia, 19, may be the most promising male platform diver that America has produced since gold medalist Greg Louganis dominated the sport in the 1980s. Dunnichay, 15, was chosen to compete in the women's 10-meter synchronized platform diving event with diving partner Haley Ishimatsu, also 15.

Our Lady of Grace parishioners sent off Boudia with a pancake breakfast in late July, just before he competed in the Kaiser Permanente Diving National Championships in Pasadena, Calif., where he and teammate Thomas Finchum captured their sixth national title to clinch a spot on the U.S. team.

"It's amazing to have so much support and so many people behind you. I feel absolutely blessed to be a part of this parish," he told the Noblesville Daily Times at the breakfast, which raised approximately $2,000 to help pay for his family's trip to China.

"The people in the parish have been amazing," Boudia's sister, Shauni, said in a phone interview with The Catholic Moment, the Lafayette diocesan newspaper. "Father John (Zahn, associate pastor at Our Lady of Grace) has been following David for a while, and he came to the trials. He has been very, very supportive, as well as the parish."

Father Zahn, who has known Boudia for six years, described him as a mild, focused, dedicated teenager.

"He dives all over the world, but he has always just been very unassuming," Father Zahn said. "We'll talk for a while about what is going on in his life. There is absolutely no pretense."

For instance, at the pancake breakfast, Boudia made a point of thanking people individually, and even joined some other high school students in washing the dishes. Father Zahn reminded him that he was the guest of honor, but Boudia just kept washing.

"He's a very classy young man," the priest said.

Boudia is spiritual, too, Father Zahn added. At the time of the Olympic trials, Father Zahn asked the parishioners to join him in raising their hands and offering a special blessing. "He said, 'You don't know what this means to me,'" Father Zahn said.

For Dunnichay, making the team was the culmination of a nearly lifelong ambition to be a competitive diver. Since 1999, she has spent six to eight hours a day, six days a week practicing and competing.

"When I was little, I used to watch my cousin and my brother at their diving practices, and I tried to do the same stuff they did," the young diver told The Catholic Moment. "I could do the same things without any training, so they thought I should try diving."

Dunnichay's event may not be as well known as Boudia's. In synchronized diving, two divers perform the same or complementary dives from different boards of the same height, in her case 10 meters or about 33 feet. The goal is to have the two dives mirror each other.

"The night before a competition, I always pray and my Church has been praying for me. I know that has helped," Dunnichay said.

The home-schooled teenager trains at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis with John Wingfield, who is the head coach of the U.S. diving team.

Father Paul Cochran, pastor at St. Joseph, had high praise for the Dunnichay family.

"They are at Mass every week. They have been working hard at this for years. Mary Beth is a well-rounded, wonderful young lady, and a humble child.

"The entire parish has been praying for her. I was at her house ... after they found out she had made the Olympic team. They were so excited. They always do things with style. Neighbors had already spray-painted hula hoops in the Olympic ring colors to decorate their yard. It was beautiful to see them," he added.

Dunnichay's mother, Marian, said the family has been blessed not only through her daughter's accomplishments but by the response of the parish and the residents of Elwood.

"The town is making shirts with pictures of her and she's autographing them," Marian Dunnichay said. "Bishop (William L.) Higi has blessed her twice, Father Paul prays here at Church and had everyone say a decade of the rosary for her.

"Her uncle's cloistered community of monks is praying for her. It goes from our little Catholic community all the way to the monks in Chile. We have lit a lot of candles. I'm still taking deep breaths," she said.