WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — With half a team at his disposal, Beavercreek diving coach Steve Schoenbaechler felt pretty good about his trio of divers’ performances Dec. 13 at a tri-meet with Fairmont and host Centerville.
Beavercreek’s Anthony Johnston placed second in the boys high school diving competition, while his teammate Mason Kennedy placed fourth overall, out of a field of seven male divers.
Johnston scored 137.4 points, well behind Fairmont winner Daniel Montgomery (166.85 points) and just ahead of Fairmont’s Rob Holt who finished with a 135.6 total. Kennedy was next at 129.7, followed by Centerville divers Nate Madding and Dylan Flaute, and Fairmont’s Gavin Hall.
On the girls’ side, Beavercreek’s Sydney Filer placed eighth out of nine divers with a score of 98.05. Lacey Pook of Miami Valley earned top honors with a winning 180.85, followed by Centerville divers Faith Poulton, Ali Cummins and Sarah Nordin, Fairmont’s Becca Kurtz, Centerville’s Hannah Nardin, Rae Melewic of Fairmont, Filer, then Centerville’s Sara Noel.
Schoenbaechler explained that his team was at half-strength, because divers Grace Weisman, Haley Romaker and Dakota Skinn were out with a wide variety injuries.
“I think Sydney (Filer) is probably my only diver I’ve had who hasn’t been out with any kind of an injury,” Schoenbaechler said, moments after Thursday night’s meet. “Anthony is just coming back from an ankle injury, and Mason is just getting over a bout with mono. … and this is just our second meet of the season, so we’re still in the developmental stages of our diving for this year.”
Schoenbaechler, who also serves as the diving coach for Kettering Fairmont, said Thursday’s tri-meet with Fairmont and host Centerville provided the divers a chance to work on early season dives. There are five families of dives — a forward flip, a backward flip, inward flip, reverse flip and a dive with a half twist.
The required dive for Thursday’s meet was the inward flip. Divers competed in six rounds of individual dives to determine Thursday night’s outcome.
“During November, we’ll worry some about execution, but only to the point where we’re looking at whether they can add something to the dive. Once the meets start coming up in December, we start working on the execution of the dive. Period. If they are going to be able to add something to their dive, that’s great. But we’re now primarily focused on the execution and fine tuning of the dive.
“So if they’ve been out during that time where we’re building dives, it gets to be a little bit slower of a process. Or, if we have to, we’ll start working on their dive while all the meets are going on.”
Schoenbaechler would prefer the learn-as-we-go scenario not to be the case, but with nearly all of his team sidelined with various injuries or illnesses, he hasn’t had much choice so far.
“It makes it tough to fine-tune everything when a lot of your divers are on the sideline,” Schoenbaechler said. “That’s why tonight’s results were very encouraging. It was nice to see the divers do well here.”
Schoenbaechler encouraged students from any area high school to contact their school’s swim coach to see about diving competitively. He said the process of adding an athlete during the season varies with each school, but said a lot of student-athletes don’t realize they can compete until it’s too late.
“There are good divers out there who aren’t competing. They have an opportunity to have fun out here, they should come on out,” he said.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.