Featuring several divers from Darien and New Canaan, the Whirlwind Dive Team competed in USA Diving's Spring Junior Region Championships over the weekend. These regional competitions are qualifying events for the 2013 Junior East National Championships. The top six divers from each event earn the right to compete at the spring national"`level competition, which will be held in April at Purdue University in Indiana.
The Region 1 Spring Regional Competition was held in Ewing, NJ, on The College of New Jersey campus, where over 150 divers competed (19 representing Whirlwind). Unable to have its strong contingent of high school boys competing for the team "` due to the regulations of their high school diving season "` Whirlwind was still able to pull off an impressive performance and win the meet.
Joe Somma and his New Canaan YMCA"`based coaching staff (including Allison Coleman, Adam Genuario and David MacDonald) prepared the divers so well that they were able to overcome being short"`handed and won the overall point total for the meet. In addition, Whirlwind won the overall point total for the girls.
Whirlwind's boys swept the medal stand in their three"`meter event. Winning the bronze medal was Kevin Bradley (Norwalk), despite aging up this season. The silver medal was won by Wiley Schmidt (Darien), as he fell just one"`half point behind teammate Owen Stevens (Darien), the gold"`medalist. In another tight performance, these two traded positions in the one"`meter event: Schmidt claimed the gold and Stevens achieving the silver (and a personal best score). Bradley qualified in this one"`meter event as well, with a fifth"`place finish.
For the girls, Piper Van Wagenen (Darien) won the bronze medal on the three"`meter board. She also qualified on the one"`meter board with a fifth"`place finish, but was less than a point from claiming a second bronze medal.
Anne Farley (New Canaan) and Claire Ross (New Canaan) both qualified in their one"`meter event, finishing fourth and sixth respectively. They will both also be competing at nationals on three"`meter, along with teammate Annabelle Pollack (Greenwich). In the three"`meter event, Ross came in fourth, Farley fifth and Pollack sixth. Farley put up personal best scores on both boards.
Timothy Luz (Darien) notched a double"`qualifying performance, achieving a fifth"`place finish on three"`meter and a bronze medal on one"`meter. Genevieve Angerame (Orange) had a stellar weekend. Also aging up from last season, Angerame impressed with a double"`medal performance (silver on three"`meter and bronze on one"`meter), while also achieving a personal best on the one"`meter board.
Rachel Burston (Stamford) continued her string of successes; never finishing below bronze so far this season, she continued the trend. Rachel pulled in a bronze medal on three"`meter, while vaulting to a personal record and a gold medal on one"`meter.
In a tightly-contested three"`meter event for 16"`18 girls, Kylie Towbin (New Canaan) shined with a solid gold"`medal performance and personal best score. Kirsten Parkinson (Stamford) pulled out a gritty last dive, propelling her into sixth place and a qualifying finish. On the one"`meter board, Parkinson put up a personal best score and earned a bronze medal, with Towbin right behind her in a fourth"`place finish.
Kyla Pech (Darien) and Caleigh Kupersmith (Greenwich) dove well, both attaining personal best scores on one"`meter.
Whirlwind would not have been able to pull off its overall victory without strong contributions from all of its divers. Also contributing to the victory were Bridget Zaleski (Easton), Meredith Jonker (New Canaan) and Cameron Rhind (New Canaan).
After the boys diving high school season ends, several Regional competitors will rejoin the team, including Matt Mintz (Redding), Andrew Bologna (Greenwich), Tanner Blank (Westport), Kyle O'Donnell (Darien -- who set a personal best on 3m over the weekend), Tom Kalinowski (New Canaan), Jake Bowtell (Darien) and Sean Burston (Stamford).
When the team travels to nationals at Purdue in April -- 14 divers strong -- it will include Bowtell (who competed at the Region 2 Competition at West Point) and Burston (who competed at Region 1 in Ewing). Both boys won impressive bronze medals in their three"`meter events, each surpassing the 500"`point mark in the process. In addition, Burston qualified on the one"`meter board with a fourth"`place finish.