Dragons fall short in district diving

WINTER HAVEN - Lake Placid sent six divers to the Class 1A-District 6 diving meet on Tuesday at Rowdy Gaines Pool in Winter Haven. Billed as a learning experience by Green Dragons swim coach Tom Creel, many of the divers were making their debut at such a high-profile meet. "We wanted to get them some experience," Creel said. "And this was a great time to get them both some familiarity with diving in general and at a district meet." Out of 32 total divers, the Green Dragons sent three boys and three girls to the meet. To move onto regionals, divers must have compiled a minimum of 280 points.
Jarrod Browning came the closest for Lake Placid, finishing in sixth place on the boys side, with 270.70 points in the process. "Jarrod brings with him a lot of enthusiasm," said Lake Placid diving coach D.J. Brouwer. "He's always excited to dive and makes everyone else on the team smile." Garret Main claimed the next highest spot for the Dragons, finishing in ninth place with 244.10 points. Walker DeLoach rounded out the boys side, finishing in 11th place with a score of 198.5. Similar to the positive Brouwer attributes to Browning, he added that the same can be said about Main. "Garret brings charm to this dive team," Brouwer said. "Everyone just loves him." As for Walker, Brouwer described him as one of the most intense divers on the team. "He brings fearlessness to the team," Brouwer said. "Walker is always asking what dive he can try next, and he keeps trying it until he gets it." Meanwhile, the Dragon girls got solid performances out of Robbye Teal, Phoebe Phypers, and Destiny Johnson. Teal clinched the highest spot for the girls, finishing in second place with 266.25 points. Phypers followed in sixth place with a total of 249.20, while Johnson came in sixth place with 206.80. Creel, who noted that Teal had missed time with a head injury, said he was impressed with her quick turnaround. "She was out for at least a week after hitting her head," he said. "And for her to come back so quickly is really amazing." And Brouwer offered just as much praise for the girls team as he did the boys. "Phoebe brings passion every time she steps onto the pool deck," he said. "She goes right to the diving boards to work or better herself and her team." "And Destiny is very practical and shows concern for her teammates." While the diving season is over for the Dragons, the district swimming meet was held Wednesday, also at Rowdy Gaines Pool in Winter Haven. Results were not available at press time. Be sure to read Friday's Highlands Today sports section for the complete story and photos. With diving over, Brouwer sent his divers into the offseason on a high note. "To all my divers, I'm just so proud of them," he said. "I'm so very proud of what our guys and gals have accomplished in such a short time. I hope we can keep up the hard work, and I just tell them to keep their heads up and keep trying." "We'll get back and do it better next time." bhoward@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5841