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Diving: With both feet
Longhorns leaping into competition
Dive WEB 1
Lambert High senior Taylor Pastor, left, prepares to perform a dive Dec. 11 during the school’s inaugural diving meet at the Cumming Aquatic Center. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Lambert’s diving team splashed onto the scene Tuesday night.

The Longhorns played host to the team’s inaugural diving invitational, which included nine schools and 29 divers at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

Although the Longhorns are new to diving, going from one athlete last season to 12 this year, the swimming team has a broader base. It boasts 85 participants, and the girls claimed second place in the state competition last year.

And with a point system rewarding schools that also have diving, Lambert might have taken home first place.

“Definitely,” Lambert diving coach Amy Spivia said. “I think they would have gotten [first].

“We are hoping this will help put the swim team over the top this year. We can have up to four divers qualify for state for Lambert, and I feel very confident we can do this by the end of the season.”

Spivia isn’t quite sure why there was such a rapid growth, but she attributes it to the school, and those on the swimming team, spreading the word.

Divers are required to perform six dives minimum for a regular meet without qualifying for state, while those attempting to qualify are required to do 11. Five judges issue scores ranging from 1-10, with the highest and lowest scores being dropped. The score is then multiplied by the degree of difficulty.

Lambert senior Taylor Pastor qualified for the state meet with a fourth-place finish, scoring 338.7 points out of a required minimum 270. Katie Stuart and Alyssa Dell’Aera placed second and third in the six-dive competition.

Pastor, who’s also on Lambert’s gymnastics team, said she saw a flier about diving at school and decided to give it a shot. She then met with Grant Segall of the Atlanta Diving Association and got involved.

“One of my favorite things about the Olympics was diving,” said Pastor, who maintains a 4.0 grade-point average. “I just thought it would be fun to try, and it turned out that I could do 11 dives.

“It’s a really great experience. Everyone on the team is pretty much best friends,” she said. “There’s no dog-eat-dog stuff and the coaches are supportive.”

Pastor said she wasn’t intimated by the diving board, but the atmosphere was more than what she expected.

“I had to put my game face on. Everybody looked like they knew what they were doing and where to go, so I had to act like I did or else a judge might [penalize] me.”

Even though Spivia is new to coaching, she’s competed in the sport for much of her life. At age 4 she began diving, continuing to compete for Dunwoody Country Club and Dunwoody High School.

A friend thought Spivia would make a good coach and connected her with Lambert swim coach Kerry Langley.

“It’s been great,” Spivia said. “My goal is for everyone to have fun and do well. They all have worked hard to get better.”

Lambert will return to the Cumming Aquatic Center on Dec. 22 to play host to the Swim and Dive Holiday Meet.