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City Dive Meet
When: 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: Helen P. Brown Natatorium

New look for diving champions

Arlington Park is in a tricky situation that the defending champion of the City Dive Meet has not seen for many years.

The problem, however, is not necessarily negative.

“The majority of divers on our team are not only very young but also new to the sport,” Arlington Park coach Aaron Krafft said.

“We had more new divers sign up this year than we have seen in a long time.”

Despite the minor setback of having to begin the season with a focus on diving fundamentals, Krafft said another city championship is not out of the question.

“Teaching the fundamentals of diving is vital for incoming divers,” Krafft said. “We have spent a significant portion of our time working on the kids’ approach and takeoffs.”

Many of the newcomers have been able to adjust quickly, and Krafft has been surprised at the level of talent that many of the newcomers showed in a brief period of time.

“It was exciting to see the new divers develop their skills so quickly,” he said. “Although most of the team is new to diving, we still strive to be a competitive, hardworking team with high hopes to bring home the winning trophy again.”

Arlington Park had two divers win individual championships last year.

Only one will be returning.

“Last year was Jesse Curtis’ final year,” Krafft said. “Jessica Brust, however, is still diving and has improved greatly over the past year. She has competed very well and has won every dive meet so far.”

Brust won the girls 8-and-under competition last year.

“She trains year-round, so she has been able to continuously improve her skills,” Krafft said. “I know she will strive to bring home the gold once again.”

Sycamore Hills placed second in diving last year, and first-year coach Madie Zirzow said the team can contend for this year’s title.

“Leading up to the city meet, our dual meets and invitationals have gone extremely well,” Zirzow said. “We have an immense amount of talent on our team with a good balance of hardworking individuals with a passion for diving.

“Along with passion, our divers are very driven, always wanting to get harder dives.”

Zizow emphasizes the idea that diving should be fun and believes a fun philosophy is the key to achieving the intended success.

“One last thing that I think will lead us to a win is our ability to not be so serious on the boards,” Zizow said.

“The assistant coach and I have made it clear to the divers that having fun is the most important aspect of any sport, and when they are having fun, their performance seems to reflect in a positive manner.”