Fairfield high school divers excel in championship meets
It's a great time to be a high school diver in Fairfield.
Four of them qualified for the FCIAC and class state meets, and Warde's Kylie More advanced all the way to the State Open, finishing 14th, despite a concussion.
"I wasn't feeling very well," More said. "I did well considering that, though."
The entire Fairfield Ludlowe diving squad qualified for Class LL, as sophomore Kelsey Tague finished sixth at the Class LL meet, placing just 1.65 points short of the open. Teammates Dani Pasquerelli and Kim Cortelessa placed 11th and 23rd respectively at LLs.
The Falcons' divers were the only Ludlowe participants to score at the class meet. They each pointed to their teammates as motivators and supporters during the season.
"If we're nervous to do a dive, they're there to pep me up," Tague said of Pasquerelli and Cortelessa. "We support each other and pump each other up."
The diving team is especially close at Ludlowe, since it is only the three athletes. They practice separate from the swimming contingent.
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"We're a lot closer than the swim team," Cortelessa said. "There's only three of us."
"If there is anything bothering me, I can go to them," Tague said.
They also claimed mental toughness and confidence as necessary tools for success on the diving board, especially in the stress-filled tournament meets. Each girl must complete 11 dives at the state and conference championships, leaving ample down time between plunges.
More critiqued the style, and said it left her uncomfortable. The Warde sophomore is a year-round diver for WhirlWind at the New Canaan YMCA, with a penchant for the high dive.
"It dragged on," she said. "It's hard to keep your focus and one small screw up and you're done."
However, according to the Ludlowe contingent, preparation did not change for the big championship meets.
"It's a long day," Pasquerelli said. "But the preparation is pretty much the same."
Pasquerelli is the foursome's only senior. She is hopeful to compete as a college diver next year. She also is a all-FCIAC and all-state gymnast, and will complete her final gymnastics season in a few weeks.
"I like diving better," she said. "Gymnastics has been hard on my body, and I have to listen to my body."
Both Cortelessa and Tague were moved by Pasquerelli's leadership and credited the departing senior with their quick growth.
"We're going to miss her," Cortelessa said.
Cortelessa, Tague and More are only sophomores, leaving the town's diving future in good hands. Although More sounded more interested in the higher diving than the low-dive high school season.
"My goal is to high dive in college," More said. "I've been doing that since I was seven."
Tague and Cortelessa, however, are excited to continue improving and already looking ahead to the 2012-13 dive campaign.
"I've never had a sport that I love as much as diving," Cortellessa said. "This was a great year."