My second dive was a reverse 1-1/2. I was nervous for this one too. I jumped up and didn't ride the board as well as I should have. I threw my head back, but then pulled my pike in tightly. As I jumped forward, I flipped backwards 1-1/2 times. I opened up and entered the water. Short, once again. It wasn't a terrible dive, but not a great one either. 4's across the board (one 3, but low score gets dropped.)
My inward 1-1/2 was better. I scored almost all 5's or 5.5's on that.
By this time I was feeling better and less nervous. The meet was half over and I hadn't had any horrible dives that got just 2's or 3's. So that was good.
I threw my front 2-1/2 and it was probably the best one I've ever done. I was able to land it straight in, and have my body and legs straight. Something I struggle with on this dive. It was awesome!! I got 6.5's and 7's!!
My last two dives I really like. A reverse dive with a half twist, straight. Again, 6's and 7's. Awesome!!
I was feeling pretty confident as I climbed the ladder for my last dive. I made my approach. I jumped it up pretty well and threw myself backwards. I twisted around and then threw a 1-1/2 inward. I guess I didn't do a very good job of keeping my abs tight because it was a little floppy going it. But it was still decent. I got a myriad of scores ranging from 4 to 5.5.
And that ended the meet for me. I was second in the line up, so everyone else had to complete their dives. I didn't know the results. I had no idea if I was going to go to state based on that performance. I hadn't really focused on or tracked what the other divers were doing. I watched some of their dives and some were good and some were not. The Grossmont divers were awesome. The Riverside divers were awesome. The guy from Saddleback College was amazing. So I wasn't really sure where things would end up.
The results were announced...Corey Stanbury announced it starting with last place. Then he worked his way backwards through the list. I kept hoping my name wouldn't be called yet. At least not until the 8th spot. Top 8 go to state.
Tenth place: Esteban Martinez - Second alternate for State
Ninth place: Timothy Fisher - First alternate for State
I'd made it!!
Eighth: Jesse Vandrkolk - San Diego Mesa College
Seventh: Daniel Miller - Chaffey College
Sixth: Erich Schmitt - Grossmont College
In fifth place...I thought for sure I'd hear my name... Aaron Garcia, Riverside College.
I couldn't believe it! I'd beat Aaron! He's really good! I'd only competed against him once at an invitational. I beat him on the 3m, but he beat me on the 1m.
In fourth place...I waited to hear my name. I knew this would be me. The other guys left were all really good and I knew I wasn't going to be top three...
Raymond Altmeyer, Grossmont College.
WHAT?!?! I had beat ALL the Grossmont divers! This was amazing!
In third place, Alex Mackey, El Camino College. I'd done it! I'd made it to state, and taken 3rd place on 3-meter in all of Southern California. Not to mention, I was undefeated in the South Coast Conference!
Jakob Wood from Riverside College took second and Jacob Swansen from Saddleback College won the meet.
It was a day I'll never forget. This goal I've had for the past four years all culminated in today's event. It was do or die. And I did.
I have to give thanks to a few people. First and foremost, God. I can't tell you how much I prayed that I'd do well. I feel like my prayers were answered. Jose Bahena, my dive coach at El Camino. He's seen me through my good days and bad days of diving and put up with all sides of me--angry me, happy me, late me, nervous me, struggling me, doubting me, and ultimately, successful me. Jose is always kind, always encouraging and a brilliant coach--even when I couldn't see why he was making me do things that at first didn't feel like it made any sense, he knows what he's doing and was able to fix so many wrong fundamentals to make me a much better diver.
The other two individuals that had a huge impact on my skill level have been Greg Louganis and Drew Johansen. Greg has brought a level of skill that I never would've had without him--from breathing, to focus, to mindset and visualization. Drew Johansen was able to correct a dive I'd been trying to fix for 20 years--in about 15 minutes. He's amazing and helped on that dive along with so many other skills!!
And lastly, thanks to my super supportive wife, Janice. She has picked up a remarkable amount of slack while I've been off playing in the water for three hours a day, five days a week. Thank you and I love you!!
One last thing... one thing I love about the sport of diving, is you can cry, have a snotty nose and even pee your pants a little and no one will ever know. I think all three of those might've happened today.