Jasper boys, girls, dominate in home pool

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

JASPER — Senior diver Olivia Biggs has jumped off the diving board in all different kinds of ways in her time at Jasper, but she threw out a little something new at Thursday night’s swim meet. In her fourth appearance on the board, Biggs incorporated a couple short skips in the lead up to her launch, a technique known as the hop hurdle. The technique is meant to add more height than a diver would get in a normal jump from the board, and it’s another tool that Biggs is working on adding to her repertoire.

Biggs

“We do a lot of dry land board,” she said. “You go on the board and do your approaches several times without getting into the water. You keep practicing over again, and you start doing straight jumps to it to get the bounce and the height. Then you start adding your dive. It took a practice or two to get it down.”

Biggs confessed she still needs more work with the hop hurdle to get even out her balance when using it, but she implemented it to great effect on Thursday night as she finished first overall in the girls diving event with 180.95 points. For Biggs, it’s another step in mastering her diving skills as she searches for a state berth by the end of the season.

“I’m trying to nail all my easy dives trying to get to the sevens,” she said. “And all my hard dives getting them to the six, six-and-a-half (range).”

As for the rest of the Wildcats, both the boys and girls teams finished first overall with 170 and 176 points, respectively. The South Knox boys team finished second with 48, and the Vincennes Lincoln girls team took the runner-up spot with 93. Of the 24 events, Jasper placed first in all but three.

“They swam extremely well this evening,” said Wildcats coach Kristin Gutgsell. “They were really fired up. We have a huge team this year, so they all know they’ve got to be swimming for their spots every time they get in the water.”

Gutsgell said that early season meets like Thursday’s are good for helping her sort out relay teams or event placements based on what she observes from live competition. She preaches to the swimmers all day long about putting their best foot forward when they get a chance, and everyone is looking to solidify their position as the opportunities become fewer during the course of the winter. Gutgsell is encouraged by what she has seen so far, but she also enjoyed watching the team celebrate and cheer for one another in such colorful ways during Thursday’s meet. It’s a sign everyone is having fun and buying in to what the team is looking to accomplish.

“We’re working really hard in the pool,” said Gutgsell. “As long as we’re improving in the water, that’s what I can ask for. It seemed like they were having a great time, so I like to see that. That’s what it’s all about.”

 




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