TAMPA — As the sunlight faded from the cloudy sky over the diving well in Copeland Park, 12 divers from Hillsborough County public schools finished up their last dives. And after 11 rounds, one male and one female emerged victorious.
Bloomingdale senior Mitch Nelson won the boys division of the Western Conference Diving Meet with 443.05 points, and Plant sophomore Sydney Power won for the second straight year with 396.50 points. Power said afterward that she had been hoping to repeat, while Nelson’s victory, according to him, was more of a surprise.
“I definitely didn’t expect to win,” Nelson said. “I was nervous the whole week going into it.”
After the preliminary rounds, Nelson was 13 points behind Steinbrenner senior Giorgi Meyer. He knew that his seventh-round dive, a forward 2 ½ tuck, would give him an opportunity to boost his score. That dive had the highest degree of difficulty rating out of Nelson’s 11 dives. He received an average score of 7 (out of 10) from the judges.
“That’s a dive I need to nail to be able to do well in competitions,” he said. “I was able to get the scores that I wanted to.”
Power singled out her dive in the eighth round, an inward 1 ½ tuck, as the one that stood out most in her mind.
“I usually don’t do that well on that dive,” she said of the dive that received an average of 7.5 from the judges, “so I was excited.”
Before going into the district and region meets, Power said she wanted to add more difficult dives to her repertoire. Each dive is assigned a degree of difficulty (for example, Power’s inward 1 ½ tuck is a 2.2), and that number is multiplied by the score awarded by the judges in order to calculate total points. Last year, Power just missed qualifying for the state meet, and it’s her goal to make it this season.
“I want to duck over my twisters and start doing harder tricks,” she said.
Meyer, with a score of 389.60, finished in second for the boys, and Danielle Hunter from Sickles came in second for the girls with 363.40 points.
(for more on Meyer and Nelson, check out this article)
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