Colby Coleman won’t be a stranger when he competes in the KHSAA¿state swimming and diving meet beginning Thursday at the University of Louisville.
“I got a little taste of it last year,” he said. “I didn’t really have but one dive that was so strong, but this year I have a lot (more) stronger dives than last year. I can do 11 dives.”
Clark coach Jamie Palumbo said Coleman is one of the elite divers in the state.
“His diving style is top level and he’s a top talent,” he said. “He’s not even near-peaking yet, but the University of Kentucky coach (Ted Hautau) has seen Colby and said he’s got more talent than the best diver that he’s got right now.”
Coleman competed in the state 1-meter diving event last year and finished second, behind winner Justin Youtsey of Beechwood. Youtsey edged Coleman by three points (20-17) in last season’s state diving event. Logan Stevens of Covington Scott also expects to challenge Youtsey and Coleman for the state title.¿Coleman’s goal is simple.
“I would like to win,” he said. “Justin Youtsey is my biggest competitor. We’re friends, but I haven’t beaten him yet. I’m going to have to hit every one of my dives, because he’s a good diver. If I can hit most of my dives like a can, I have the potential to beat him.”
Coleman dove in the pool at Louisville during the regular season and has a feel for what to expect this week.
“They judged me pretty low, but I still got a pretty good score,” the Clark senior said.
This time around, Coleman said the “competition is going to be a lot harder.”
“Some of the guys from Northern Kentucky didn’t come to that meet,” he said. “I’m just going to have to keep my nerves under control and try to relax.”
Coleman earned his second straight Region 5 title a couple of weeks ago in the diving event held at Transylvania University. Although he set a pool record, Coleman said he “didn’t feel like he did that well” against regional contenders.
“It (my score) wasn’t near as high as my personal best,” he said.
Palumbo said Coleman’s diving skills have progressed in his two years as coach.
“Once he realized that he was being recruited, he started figuring out that he is that good,” he said. “His work ethic improved, he started working harder and starting learning new dives to a higher degree of difficulty and he has just sky-rocketed. He’s just so much better.”
Palumbo is confident Coleman will perform well at Louisville and contend for the state title.
“He has got a lot of talent and he’s able to get into positions and spin,” he said. “It’s his raw talent that makes him that good. His mental (approach) is going to be the key. He needs to stay cool, calm, relaxed and focused, because that’s the biggest thing that could keep him from doing as well as he can.”