Local swim teams score more by adding diving teams

December 18, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

The local swim teams aren't giving away points any more.

After years of conceding points to their regional competitors because they didn't have diving teams, Danville and Boyle County have taken steps to take them back.

They're learning this season at Danville what they learned last season at Boyle: There's something worth jumping into the pool for.

Danville has restarted a diving team - its first since the 1980s - this fall, a year after Boyle began diving for the first time.


"It was a case where it was hard for me to make Danville competitive without it," Danville swimming coach Becky Bandura said.

"You can add points to your swimming score if you have diving. You have more potential for scoring."

That's something Boyle discovered last season when it took the plunge.

"Last year Woodford County and us were the first two teams in the region, and both of us had new diving teams," Boyle swimming coach Crystal Estes said.

There are 20 divers between the two teams - Danville has 11; Boyle has nine. Many of them have dived for local club teams, but this is brand new to some of them.

"It's just the fun of doing it and having our first dive meet," said Danville sophomore Jennifer Hawn, who is diving for the first time. "I'm just going out and having fun."

It's just as much fun for the experienced divers.

"I started diving off the board at Danville Country Club when I was 6, and I've been diving on the team since I was seven," Boyle freshman Emily Ahnquist said. "It's one of my favorite things to do. I feel like it's right for me to be there."

After all, who doesn't love jumping into the pool?

"I always liked diving off the board just for fun," Boyle junior Chris Snider said.

The divers can't do that at Kentucky School for the Deaf, the home pool for both local teams. KSD's pool has no diving board, so diving practices are held at Centre College's Boles Natatorium.

Danville's divers practice for 90 minutes on Friday nights and two hours on Sundays, and Boyle holds hour-long practices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. And the weeknight practices for both teams are in addition to swimming practice.

"We pretty much go through this practice and straight to that practice," Boyle's Snider said.

Many of the divers on both teams - Danville has 11 divers; Boyle has nine - are swimmers, but not all of them. And while diving and swimming points are combined in team scoring, the divers said they are separate in many respects.

"It feels like a whole different team," Hawn said.

Yankey, Bramel are the coaches

Both diving teams have their own coaches. Former Danville swimmer Bryan Yankey, now a University of Kentucky sophomore who coaches the divers on the Danville Country Club summer team, commutes from Lexington to work with the Danville divers.

"She loves to dive, so I called her up to see if she'd be interested, and she worked it out around her schedule," Bandura said. "I'm amazed how she can work them through it."

"The practices have been a lot of fun," seventh-grader Maggie Pence said.

Katy Bramel, who helped Yankey work with the DCC divers and who dived for Danville in the 1980s, took over the Boyle team in midseason last year.

"We basically get up on the board and practice our dives, and she tells us what we did wrong and what to do different," Snider said.

There are varsity and junior varsity competitions in regular-season meets. To compete at the varsity level, divers must execute 11 dives from a list of several dozen that includes everything from the most elementary dives to complex spins usually seen only at the college or Olympic level.

Danville and Boyle divers will compete in only two meets - the first was Saturday; the second is Jan. 28 - before the regional.

"I think it will help us a lot (at the regional)," Danville's Pence said. "Most teams have diving teams, and this will make us stronger."

And they divers themselves enjoy having something they can specialize in.

"In swimming, there are a whole lot of people who are better than me," Boyle's Ahnquist said. "But with diving, I know I can do it."

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