USA Diving Nationals in Bloomington, IN at Indiana University
News on Emma McPeeters and a closer look at the event and the facilities….The facility at IU is incredible!!!! The walls are lined with hanging portraits of Alumni Olympic champions such as Mark Spitz and Mark Lenzi, as well as all of the National Awards, and Conference Championships. The swim and dive programs are overshadowed by the success of basketball, but plays an equally important role recruiting quality athletes.
Team mates Alicia Rouche and Emma McPeeters with dive coach Shana Dege descended into Bloomington on Thursday July 12, and immediately went to work. Practice times had already been established so preparation began for the first events on Friday.
There were twenty-three divers in Emma McPeeters’ age group 12-13 year olds from primarily Ohio and east. Multiple competitors from teams in Huntersville, Durham/Chapel Hill, Ohio, and Maryland just to name a few were there and our sole representative from Greensboro, Emma. Emma was quite comfortable with this, as she has developed friendships with her competitors and felt quite at home.
Emma’s first event was platform. There are 6 dives with varying degrees of difficulty each diver must perform. The top 12 from this event qualified for USA Nationals to be held here in Greensboro August 1-10 at the new Greensboro Aquatic Center. The helplessness of a parent wanting their child to succeed was never more present and when the 23rd diver completed their 6th dive…. Emma placed 7th and qualified for Nationals in her first event!!!!!!!!!!!
As with any competition, there are ups and downs. The 1-meter springboard proved to be one of those…. of sorts.
Success and failures are not always measured by wins and losses. This time in this event, perseverance triumphed over all!!!! In 2nd place through 2 dives, Emma McPeeters experienced a fault, basically a dive that would not count toward her overall score, and put her in 21st position out of 23 competitors. While some may say “what’s the point continuing” not on your life for Emma…She battled back….With 4 dives left and needing to place in the top 12 to make nationals, she performed incredibly! Aided by the misfortune of other divers, she finished in 13 place. Sad you may say that she fell 1 position short of qualifying, however in the group of 12, one of the divers had already “pre-qualified” for Nationals, opening up the spot now occupied by Emma. This puts Emma qualified in 2 of 3 events for Nationals and will be shooting for the 3rd event next. The final day of competition was a little more relaxed for all divers and scores reflected it.
The 3-meter springboard was the final event of the competition for Emma. She considers this her best event…..
She began strong, solidly top 7 after the first 2 rounds, then every divers worst nightmare. On an inward dive, her toes just barely nicked the board causing a less than stellar entry and even lower score than what she’s capable of . This dropped her to 18th place out of 20 divers with 5 dives left to make it into the top 12. With all the confidence in the world of a seasoned veteran, she stood her ground, finished with some amazing dives and scores, and with some help of others misfortune, placed 10th, and had officially qualified in all 3 events for USA Nationals!!!!!!!
*****The look back from her dad, Mac McPeeters……*****
Whew, what a week!!!!! Barely made plane in Indy, 2 hour delay in Charlotte, finally home washing clothes with time to finally share the results!!!! 20 divers, top 12 go to Nationals, and our Emma McPeeters is now qualified for all 3 events with a 10th place finish!!!!!! Talk about a proud papa!!!!!!! Congratulations to Alicia as well, Emma’s team mate, while unable to qualify, held her head high and performed admirably, representing Ultimate Air Diving graciously!!!!! Many thanks to Coach Shana, who has earned the respect of not only the team she coaches, but of the parents and competition!!!!! The one thing that continues to amaze me is that the competition is fielding as many as 5 divers if not more in Emma’s age group yet our team only has 1 participant and COMPETES!!!!!!! What a wonderful testament to the hard work, preparation and dedication to the sport she loves!!!!! Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement and well wishes!!!!!!