By Laura Carr
The lively atmosphere in Trumbull Aquatics Center on Nov. 7 underscored the exciting things happening in the diving well. Tucked away in the far right corner of the competition space, a small contingent of spectators that included vice president of student development Laurel Kennedy watched in awe as Denison’s divers expertly twisted, tucked and turned in the air.
The divers participated in an unscored exhibition meet against Albion College. The swimmers faced Division I Xavier University in the pool, but Xavier does not have a diving squad, so DU coach Russ Bertram’s crew used the meet as an opportunity to record qualifying scores for the 2016 NCAA Diving Regionals.
Max Levy ‘17 paced the Big Red with his school-record breaking 6-dive score on the 3m board. Levy’s 375.30 point total surpassed Connor Dignan ‘15’s previous record of 372.53, set in 2012.
Teammate Emma Weber ‘19 spoke with Levy prior to the meet. “Max tried a new dive,” she said. “He did a front one and a half with three twists. He did it at OSU and it was not what he wanted to compete, but he did it better at home on Saturday.”
Brian Allen ‘17 (344.85), Ben Lewis ‘16 (313.28) and Nathan Lightman ‘16 (288.53) followed Levy on the 3m board. All four men recorded NCAA ‘B’ cuts, qualifying them for the Division III regionals which will be held on Feb. 26, 2016.
The quartet returned for the 1m board competition, where they once again recorded regionals qualifying scores. Lewis finished in first place.
“We are really solidifying ourselves as a diving program and I think some of [the dives] were a little more shaky on 3-meter but we also always pull it together,” Allen said. “There’s a magical moment in the season where we just start getting better, and we’re starting to begin that.”
Eva Vivero ‘19, Katherine Hennigan ‘17 and Weber represented the women. Weber won the 1m board with a 6-dive score of 231.00, while Vivero tallied a score of 233.33 to win the 3m board.
Weber and Vivero are roommates, and encourage each other to succeed. “[Vivero is] really helpful with calming me down,” Weber said. “We just help each other calm down when we’re nervous.”
The squad traveled to Columbus to compete against Division I Ohio State University on Nov. 6. Allen said that OSU’s diving program is one of the best in the country, so “to dive against that caliber divers is a really unique opportunity to not only better ourselves but also show us the level of diving we could be at, to inspire us to get to that level.”
According to Bertram, the divers have been “trying to increase their ability to use the diving board with great efficiency and produce greater force so that the dives become easier to execute.”
The team’s next meet is against conference rival Kenyon College on Nov. 14.