Mark Schmetzer reports:
Mason High School seniors Maddie Sewell and Sean Sargent do a lot together, including diving and dating.
Sunday morning at the University of Cincinnati’s Keating Aquatics Center, they added winning championships. Sewell won the girls diving championship and Sargent earned the boys title at the Southwest Ohio Swimming and Diving Classic.
Both Comets beat divers from Centerville and Kettering Alter to earn their second titles. Sargent won last year’s championship, while Sewell won as a sophomore before finishing second last year. That wasn’t extra motivation for her, she said.
“Not really,” said Sewell, a Michigan State recruit. “I mean, I wanted to win because it’s my senior year, but I mainly just wanted to have a nice consistent meet and score well.”
Sewell, who led local Division I divers with a fifth-place finish at last year’s state meet, led for the entire meet, finishing with a 494.15-446.05 lead over Centerville’s Olivia Lehman. Sargent, who finished sixth in the state last season, was challenged through the first two rounds by Centerville’s Noah Hickey before pulling away for a 496.50-442.60 win.
Sargent capped his day by scoring an impressive 62 with his final dive, an inward 2-1/2 somersault tuck with a 3.1 degree of difficult – the highest of any dive attempted in the finals.
“That’s always been a good dive for me,” said Sargent, a Miami recruit. “It plays to my strong suits and helps give me confidence.”
That Sargent ended with a flourish was no accident, according to coach Lori Rapp.
“My strategy with the dive order is to start strong, then back off a little in the middle to hide their holes, then finish strong,” she said. “I call those last three dives the ‘bread-and-butter’ dives.”
Rapp, who operates Tri-State Diving and coaches Sewell and Sargent, was happy to see the divers show enough resolve and focus to pull away from the competition.
“This is a tough meet,” Rapp said. “It’s good competition. You can’t open any doors (for opponents).”
Forty-nine competitors – 25 of them girls – converged on UC Sunday morning for the diving finals of the mammoth two-day Classic, which concluded with the second round of swimming finals Sunday night at Keating Natatorium on the St. Xavier High School campus.
The divers each executed five dives before the field was cut to 20 girls and 20 boys. They went through three more rounds before 12 more boys and 12 more girls eliminated, leaving eight of each for the final three rounds.
Lakota East junior Abby McConnell finished fourth among the girls, and Summit Country Day sophomore Stewart Spanbauer finished fourth in the boys’ competition.