Tam diving going strong with new coach and divers

Relative to other sports teams at Tam, diving seems tiny. However, junior diver Katherine Takeshita said, “The dive team has eight kids right now, which makes us the biggest diving team in MCALs. Most of the kids from last year came back, and we have two new divers. Only a few other schools have dive teams, and if they do it’s only like one or two divers.” Consesuelly, Takeshita is confident in its potential for the season.

“Since we have the most divers, I think we’ll definitely get the most diving points in MCALs for one school, like we did last year,” she said.

In general, dives are judged by three judges based on starting position, approach, takeoff, flight and entry on a scale of 0 (a failed dive) to 10 (an excellent dive). The three scores are then added together and divided by the dive’s level of difficulty. For example, a double flip with a twist is more difficult than a single flip. Individuals are usually responsible for six dives. Once all dives have been completed, each diver’s score is added together and the individual with the highest total score is the winner and the team with the highest score wins the meet.

It is also Ken Light’s first year coaching the team and Junior Kirk Wong said “he seems to be pushing us much harder than the coach we had last year.” Wong points to “early morning practices on Wednesdays and Thursday starting at 6:50 am and going to 7:45”

“He was a diver in college,” says Takeshita. “He definitely knows what he’s talking about, which is really helpful when he’s helping us learn new dives and perfecting old dives. He’s a lot stricter than the last two coaches, but it’s really helped everyone improve their diving.” It appears that Light is doing something right, because Tam has dominated the first competitions of this season. At Drake, Takeshita, junior Jamie Eddy, junior Skyler McCormick and junior Whitney Nelson took 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th respectively. Senior Kai Brewer (137 points) and Wong (123 points) took 1st and 2nd respectively for the boys team. In the competition versus Marin Catholic, Takeshita (156 points), McCormick (145 points) and Nelson took 1st, 2nd and 5th.

Terra Linda was the largest team the divers faced this year, with three girls and two boys, but Tam managed to hold its own. Senior Kyla Neugebauer dove in her first meet of the season and came in 1st with 199 points. Eddy, Takeshita, and Nelson took 2nd, 3rd and 7th respectively. Takeshita said that Neugebauer and junior Jamie Eddy’s background in gymnastics give them a competitive edge, and that they can “pretty much do anything.”

“This season is a lot more serious than past seasons,” says Takeshita. “But dive team is still pretty laid back.”


Written by Maggie Whalen. This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.