Resurgence of school dive team arrives with new coach, athletes

Lesley Wright and Karen Pipek, Roar staff

Anxiously anticipating her turn, eighth-grader Kara Marin watches a fellow competitor lose control and slam his face into the pool’s spring board. Despite witnessing that traumatic event, Marin’s gymnastics background have helped give her the confidence to complete her dive successfully. “I found out about the dive team at registration when I saw fliers about it,” the first-year diver said. “I talked my friend Lauren [Burns] into joining the team with me.” Diving made a comeback after a six-year absence. The team disbanded in 2004  when the Fee Avenue pool was rebuilt without a diving well. “There also wasn’t a coach to instruct the dive team,” junior Nikki Gregory said. “But this year we got a swim coach who was willing to start it back up.” Head swimming and diving Coach Mike Rochelle decided to step up and take charge. “We practice for two hours on Saturday mornings at Rockledge High School,” Rochelle said. “During practice, we continue developing our fundamental skills, improve the dives we already perform in competition and learn new dives.” Burns, a freshman, also was a gymnast until getting injured and being diagnosed with scoliosis. “My injuries won’t allow me to do as much gymnastics [as before], so diving seemed like a good alternative,” Burns said. “Doing gymnastics definitely affects how well I’m able to control my body while diving.” Seventh-grader Mattie Shaw saw an opportunity. “It was one of the things I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time for. hen I heard [we] had a dive team,” she said. “I thought it was perfect.”