Saddleback College dives for the win at the 2016 state meet

Saddleback College diver Jacob Swanson practices his dives in preparation for his meet. Swanson took first at the Orange Empire Conference championships giving him momentum entering the state competition. (Austin Weatherman/ Lariat)

Saddleback College diver Jacob Swansen practices his dives in preparation for his meet. Swanson took first at the Orange Empire Conference championships giving him momentum entering the state competition. (Austin Weatherman/ Lariat)

Saddleback College diver Jacob Swansen takes home first place at the California Community College Athletic Association swim and dive championships held at East Los Angeles College on May 5-7.

“[Jacob] might have been the only diver to score eight or better on his dives,” said Saddleback College diving coach Curt Wilson. “To get eights on a dive is very very good.”

In the dive events, there are about 20 divers each, scored on a one to 10 point basis. One half being unsatisfactory to the excellent 10. The highest and lowest score of five judges is dropped, having three scores added and multiplied by the difficulty of the dive.

Swansen won both the 3 meter and 1 meter events, being named the California State College Diver of the Year. In the 3 meter, Swanson led the field of divers by a 69.5 point margin, winning the event with a score of 268.05. In the 1 meter, he finished the event with a high of 299.0 and a 57 point dive on his inward 1-and-1/2 half pike.

Swansen qualified for the state dive meet by taking first place in the Orange Empire Conference. He has been diving for 11 years placing fourth in the 2014 CCCAA dive championships. Though his dive career at Saddleback is through, Swansen looks to continue diving at a four-year university.

“He is very likely to be recruited, he is really an excellent diver,” Wilson said. “Community college was a great step for him to grow as a person, athlete and as a student, so now I think a four-year college will be fortunate to have him involved in their school.”

Not only did Swansen have success at the meet, Saddleback diver Sarah Duke placed seventh in the 3 meter event. Although seventh is not first, Coach Wilson ensured it was a victory in Duke’s favor.

“Just to get the acquired amount of dives and be in the competition was a great goal we met,” Wilson said. “Now having been competing in state, only diving for five months, and placing in the top eight, that goes a long way to tell you what kind of athlete she is and how much determination and drive she has.”

Duke started diving in September placing first at the Pasadena Invitational as well as taking fourth at the OEC championships.

“She will be returning and competing next year and that is great,” Wilson said. “She saw a lot of competitors and saw what she needs to do to compete at that level. I see her at top three next year.”

Coach Curt Wilson was named the California State College Coach of the Year, an honorable award in the diving community. Wilson has coached Saddleback College’s diving team for five years now as well as coach of the accomplished Crown Valley Divers in Mission Viejo.

“It is a tremendous honor,” Wilson said. “I was completely surprised. You are voted amongst your peers and it was a really nice feeling.”

Dive season comes to end, but watch out for next year’s team as they hope to recreate this year’s results.

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