• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports

Woodford County dive team gets ready for season

The Woodford County High School dive team is preparing for its upcoming season and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Coach Patty Burchett likes her dive team and feels that they are just breaking the surface on what they can accomplish. The dive team will feature many new competitors this season.

“We have many young divers this year,” said Burchett. “ It's exciting because if they stick with it, we will have worked together for five years and that is an incredible amount of time to polish your skills.”

Chelsea Call, Katie Gatewood, Wade Young and William Slover are the returning divers who qualified for the State Championship last season. The team will look to their leadership and experience to carry them forward this season.

“They are a fun group of kids to coach,” said Burchett. “Last year we had only four divers and everyone of them went to state. We had a big group who graduated the year before and last year's group did a great job learning their craft and excelling on the diving board.”

Dive is a unique sport where you are competing individually but also trying to get the best score as a team. The bond being made every day at practice before the season starts should push the team to reach their ultimate team goals.

“In the pool the kids are very friendly and they have a great time together,” said Burchett. “There is a big range in age on the dive team but the kids mesh beautifully. They all encourage each other and have become a family. It's a great feeling as a coach to know that not only are you pushing them to grow as divers, but they are pushing each other.”

The Jackets host the majority of the events on their schedule at the Falling Springs Recreational Center. The Jackets host the events in conjunction with the swim team on Wednesday evenings starting at 5p.m.

“We host them all because we have the best facility in the region,” said Burchett. “Teams come to Falling Springs because they know our facility is top notch and they want to swim and dive in a safe and clean environment. We have that here and are very fortunate.”

Many of the new members of the team have had some sort of gymnastics training in the past and will go a long way in learning the art of diving.

“We've had times in the past where we have gone over to the gym to practice dives into the foam pit to gain confidence if someone was struggling,” said Burchett. “Most of them have learned all of the dives that are required to qualify for the regional and state tournaments. There have been many years where that hasn't happened this early but it's a good problem to have. The backwards dives especially are the scariest and it takes repetition and encouragement to get over that hump. These kids this season are eager and they want to get better.”

The regular season meets consists of a combination of six different dives per competitor and then regional events features 11 dives.

“When we get to regionals, we will counting on our experienced divers but I also think some of the younger divers will also come ready to compete,” said Burchett. “It really is an exciting time to be coaching this team.”

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