Top teens dive into Invite
Right now it’s a party of one for the Park City diving program, but head coach Gene McIntyre isn’t discouraged.
The Miners’ Tori Schechinger is finished in 10th place at the Park City Invitational at the Park City Aquatic Center at Ecker Hill on Saturday. She is currently ranked in the top 20 in the state.
In sanctioned Utah high school diving, only the top 24 in the state compete in the state diving championships at Brigham Young University (BYU) at the end of the season. The divers have a number of qualifying meets they may attend during the season, and must compete in three in order to be eligible for the state meet. McIntyre says that as long as Schechinger continues to finish in the top half of those qualifying meets, she should have no problems being included in the state qualifying group.
"All I am looking for is that Tori is diving well and staying in the top 24," McIntyre said.
As a freshman, Schechinger competed for Park City in diving and returned to the boards for her senior season this year. She trains at the Park City pool as well as with her Salt Lake-based club team, SLAP diving, which McIntyre also coaches. Schechinger is used to competing with the top female divers at both prep and club meets, and was prepared for the heavy competition on Saturday.
Also represented at the Park City tournament were South Summit, Bear River, Highland, Bountiful, Judge, Carbon and Timpview. A total of 10 girls and 21 boys competed.
McIntyre says that typically most divers will come from Provo, Salt Lake or Tremonton. Besides the draw of the BYU and University of Utah college diving programs in Salt Lake and Utah County and surrounding areas, McIntyre says that often programs will arise in other areas like Tremonton and Price because of the existence of quality coaching that continually feeds those high school programs with talented, young divers. For instance, the top diver in the state, Dayna Christensen is the daughter of Bear River coach Janet Christensen.
Most divers begin in a Learn-to-Dive program and then go on to compete on a club team. McIntyre says he does see some crossover from gymnasts who get injured or grow too tall also making their way into the sport, since the body postioning in the air is comparable. As far as crossover into the Park City program, he says there hasn’t been much, but the Miners do have the use of facilities at the Black Diamond Gymnastics Center. Ideally, though, he says he would like the trampoline suspension system that the freestyle aerialists use at the Utah Olympic Park to properly train his team, so perhaps some more creative crossover is in order.
As for adding more divers to the program, McIntyre is hoping to grow the Park City High School program with kids who are coming up in the age-group diving program in Park City.
The next diving meet will be held at the South Summit Aquatic and Fitness Center on Jan 3. Park City will host the 3A, 4A and 5A region championship meet on Saturday, Jan. 26.
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