By Jake Thompson
AVON — After swimming sectionals last Saturday, three county divers — Avon’s Daequan Quinn, Plainfield’s Aaron Lux, and Tri-West’s Evan Cooper — advanced to Tuesday’s diving regional at Avon.
When the water fell still and the results were announced, only two county divers remained. Cooper and Quinn, both freshmen, each advanced to the state finals this Saturday with their fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively.
Each has been diving for several years and that experience paid off as both were happy to move on.
“It’s pretty cool,” Cooper said. “I would have hoped for a better meet tonight, but I’ll just go in Saturday and do better.”
Quinn agreed with his county counterpart.
“I am very thrilled,” Quinn said. “I came into this meet 100 percent focused to take care of what I needed to do and deliver and that’s what I did and it shows in my performance. It feels good”
Tri-West has had only three male divers make it to state with the last coming close to 20 years ago and none made the podium, something Cooper hopes to change this weekend.
“It would be good and it’s definitely a goal and it would be an honor to do so as a freshman,” Cooper said. “I’m not going in over thinking it and will just do the best I can.”
While the scenario of Saturday’s state finals can be nerve wracking, each has several years experience in big competitions and should be well prepared mentally for the challenge.
“I’m pressured but I’ve been diving for almost six years and have been in meets with more stress than this one,” Quinn said. “It’s like when I come to this meet, I do it to have fun. I’m just excited because my set goal was to do the best I can and take it as far as I can.
“For me to actually succeed and have the opportunity to go on to state is more than an honor to me. My life is dedicated to diving. I come everyday from five to seven and even stay after school to work out. It’s not like I got up there and got lucky, it’s something I train for and am really focused on doing.”
Quinn’s attitude towards his craft is impressive, especially at such a young age and something his high school coach certainly appreciates.
“Coming in as a freshman for me, I know he has dove for a long time, but when it comes down to a high stakes meet like this it’s nerves of steel for freshman to come in here and perform pretty well,” Avon coach Jon Karr said.
Lux finished 10th in his sophomore season after taking 18th as a freshman, moving up eight slots but narrowly missed the cut to state by two spots. He also added nearly 100 more points to his score from last season.
“It was a big improvement, absolutely,” Plainfield coach Chris Cavanaugh said.
The first round of state finals diving begins at 9 a.m. this Saturday at the Indiana University Natatorium. Swimming finals are slotted to start at 1 p.m.