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Tampa Prep diver wins national title

Chris Colwill edges his rival in the 3-meter platform event at the Junior National meet.

Chris Colwill, a freshman-to-be at Tampa Prep, won the 3-meter platform event in the 14- to 15-year-old age group at the Junior Nationals, held Wednesday morning in Orlando.

Colwill, 14, qualified for the World Team, which will compete in the Czech Republic later this month.

The trouble is, the Senior Nationals, a qualifier for the Olympic Trials and a meet that Colwill already has qualified for in the 1-meter, will be at the same time. That leaves Colwill and his coach, Joe Greenwell, with a difficult decision.

"It will be tough because there will be a lot of boys and girls going to the Senior Nationals, and they can't afford to turn that down," Greenwell said.

"I don't know if Chris will go or not. If it wasn't an Olympic year coming up, it wouldn't be so difficult. It's something that needs to be sorted out. But those are the breaks."

On Wednesday, Colwill got all the breaks he needed. Competing against rival Jevon Tarantino, who won the 3-meter event at last year's meet, Colwill was able to follow him in the final.

That allowed Colwill to know where he stood before each dive, and he stayed ahead throughout the meet. Still, Colwill needed a near-perfect dive in his last attempt to hold off his challenger. He nailed it and edged Tarantino, 571-568.

"It was a great performance," Greenwell said. "Those two (Colwill and Tarantino) had everyone in the building watching. It was tremendous excitement."

Colwill isn't done yet. He will compete in the 1-meter and platform events later this week. To prepare, Colwill returned home to the Brandon Swim and Tennis Club and will commute to Orlando each day.

Another diver from the Jetstream Dive team, Meagan Perry-Eaton, a senior-to-be at Bloomingdale who previously dived for Seminole, finished 14th in the 3-meter event and missed the final cut.