Top Finishes in MCALs for Tam Diving



By Riley Kuffner

Tam divers junior Shane Allen and sophomore Ethan Daniel placed second and fifth respectively in the Marin County Athletic League Diving Championship at the Redwood High pool on May 9. Twenty divers, twelve boys and eight girls, represented seven different schools (Tam, Redwood, Marin Catholic, San Rafael, Terra Linda, San Marin, and Justin Siena). When all was said and done, Allen and Daniel were awarded 356.1 and 258.15 points, respectively, for their efforts. This qualified both of them for the NCS championship. San Rafael’s Max Adler won with a 375.55 for the boys and San Marin’s Haley Blount won with a 507.7 for the girls. Blount was the standout of the competition. Her training at Stanford University paid off, with every dive appearing nearly flawless. Next year she will be attending the University of Utah on scholarship.

Coming into NCS Allen ranked 4th out of 32 divers.

Allen was the star of this year’s team, winning all but one competition.

In addition to competing individually for a spot at NCS, the divers also gained points for their swimming and diving teams in the MCAL championship.  Allen and Daniel’s efforts, along with a strong finish by the boys swimming team’s won Tam second place in MCALs, behind Terra Linda.

Co-head coaches Ken Light and PE teacher Nate Severin were very pleased with their team’s season. “We had a great year,” Severin said. “Shane won practically all of our competitions and Ethan really stepped up, practiced, and got a lot better.” Regarding MCALs, he stated that a good balance between comfortability with dives and difficulty was one of the keys to success, in addition to simply having talented and driven divers.

Allen and Daniel were also very happy with their results. “That was one of my best performances on the year. I am really pleased with second place and to be moving on to NCS,” Allen said.  His best dive of the day came during the tenth round in the form of a forward one and one half pike with perfect rotation and entry.  Daniel also felt good about the competition.  “Overall, I dove really well.  I dealt with the pressure and most dives were solid and consistent,” Daniel said. However, he did face some challenges.  “I had trouble with my reverse in competition all season, and today was no different,” he said. Daniel also cited his one and one half full twist as a challenge, as he had just learned it the week before.

The stands were packed with predominantly Redwood fans on the hot and sunny day for all eleven rounds of MCAL championship diving. The event commenced with the announcer introducing all of the divers and describing how the day would be structured.  Before each dive the name of the dive and diver was announced.  After they hit the water, the announcer called “awards” and five judges located on two different sides of the pool held up their one through ten score (including halves).  The scores were based on components such as splash, precision, rotation, form, and difficulty.  They were then announced to the crowd and recorded by a series of bookkeepers who would tally them later. There was a large variety of diving skill levels ranging from the evident beginner to seemingly-professional.  The fans, as well as fellow competitors, cheered on the divers, no-matter the level of their performance. In fact, there were often more cheers for botched dives than successful ones.  There was also a sense that the divers had a great deal of fun.  At one point, a diver from Redwood went in with a girl’s suit, provoking a laugh from everyone present.

At the beginning of the season, Allen came in knowing he was Tam’s star diver, but despite his accomplishments continued to train hard and reached a whole new level. Throughout the regular season Allen only lost one competition.  As the oldest member on the team this year he took a leadership role, but next year, as a senior, Allen will have to continue to improve and help out the rest of his young team.

Coming into NCS Daniel ranked 29th out of 32 divers.

Daniel qualified for NCS, accomplishing his goal for the year.

Daniel came into this year of diving with one specific goal that would drive his entire season; to dive for Tam at NCS.  At last year’s MCAL championship he recorded a score of 208, falling short of the 250 mark needed for qualification, and this year he was determined to raise his level of play.  Daniel made every practice with the team and also did work on his own during the weekends.  In addition, he pushed himself to try more difficult dives, which was uncomfortable for him in the past.  “I just wanted to throw down as many dives as I could and see what happened,” he said.  This new technique allowed him to raise his difficulty level, which may have been the difference between qualifying and going home.  When he scored a 258.15 at the MCAL championship, qualifying for NCS, after a long season Daniel knew his hard work had paid off.

While Allen and Daniel were the only members to compete this year, Tam’s team is actually of substantial size.  Nine members in total including six freshmen made the team the largest in the league, but many did not compete because they didn’t have the skillset to perform eleven different dives, which is the minimum for competition.  “The goal is to get all of our divers competing next year,” Severin said.  If the team were able to achieve this, it would give them a huge edge on the other schools, which could potentially set them up to be a powerhouse for years to come.  While the future of Tam diving looks very promising with a large freshmen core, they still face the challenge of developing these divers.  “I tried to teach some of the younger members, but wasn’t very successful,” Allen said.  “A goal of mine is to get them into competition next year as a senior.”  The coaches will also be looking to focus their attention in that direction.

Allen and Daniel moved on to NCS on Thursday May 16, and placed 9th and 22nd respectively.  Although they were hard pressed to win this time, Tam’s success in the future is also not out of the realm of possibility.