I got up this morning, went through my morning routine and made my way towards East LA College. I left a few minutes later that I would've liked and I started getting worried about arriving on time because Hillary Clinton was also going to be there a few hours later. But that entailed road closures, extra visitors, crazy parking, etc.
I made pretty good timing, pulled into the parking structure and found a parking spot on the first level. It was already starting out to be an awesome day!
I made my way to the pool after a bit of a long walk from the opposite end of campus. It was fun to see their campus. I walked into the pool area and saw some friendly faces on the way in. I said hi to Shane, the coach from Cerritos, and Alexandra, the diver from ELAC. I made my way to the back corner of the pool where our tent was. I spoke with Coach Corey and all three swimmers had already done their race for the day. KJ and Zach both had personal bests, which was awesome. But no one had made it into the finals that night.
I started stretching and warming up. I anxiously waited for the swim events to finish and the boards to be lowered into position so we could begin warming up. After an hour of waiting, warming up and stretching, the boards were finally open.
I was the first one on the 3-meter. I climbed the ladder and adjusted the fulcrum to my usual 7.5 spot. I walked to the end of the board and just jumped up and down a few times. It was really stiff. I walked back towards the ladder and positioned myself with my heels on the sixth dot from the back of the board. I took a deep breath in, let it all out and then began my approach to the end of the board. I did my hurdle, jumping up and then went feet first into the water. The board was really stiff.
I got out of the water. The edge of the pool is really high so I used my elbow to lift myself out. A sharp pain went through my arm. I'd done something to it. Not sure what, but shortly thereafter a large bump and bruise spot formed on my forearm just below my elbow. Not the best way to start.
I spoke with Coach Jose about the hurdle.
"The board is really stiff," I said.
"Try adjusting the fulcrum a little to where it feels about the same," Jose replied.
I waited in what was still a short line for my turn again. I climbed the ladder once again and adjusted the fulcrum to an eight. That seemed a little better. I did another jump, followed by a back jump and then I was ready to begin.
I won't bore you with the details of the warm up, but it went okay. Not awesome, but I nailed each dive at least once.
The meet began. Women first for the first round, then men for the first round. Then back to the women. I was the LAST diver.
After waiting for 33 other divers to go, it was finally my turn. I climbed the ladder as my name was announced over the PA system.
"William Mackey, 203B, back one and one half in the pike position," Corey Stanbury called out over the intercom.
I set the fulcrum to six. A half stop above my normal setting. I walked to the end of the board, turned around and hung my heels over the edge. As I took a sharp breath in, I raised my arms, jumped up, pulled my legs into a tight pike and spun around one, one and a half, one and three quarters, opened up and I think my hands BARELY hit the water before the rest of my body smacked the surface of the water.
WHAT?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?! I was supposed to be able to nail this dive. I came up to much cheering and applauding which only happens for opposite ends of the scoring spectrum. This time it was the wrong end of the spectrum. Would I fail my first dive? It was definitely possible. But the score cards went up. I got scores ranging from 0 to a 2. Pathetic.
"Shake it off. We'll make it up," Jose said encouragingly. I'd gotten 185 on 3m with a failed dive before, so I could certainly do it again. I wouldn't be top three, but maybe still top 5 or 8.
Next up was my reverse 1-1/2. I set the fulcrum. I was really nervous for this dive. It's my most "hit and miss" dive. I kept thinking the two things Greg and Jose have repeatedly told me, "Be present, jump it up." I took my four steps to the end of the board, jumped it up and used my abs to pull my legs towards me. I squeezed into a pike and rotated backwards one and a half times. As I stretched my arms towards the water, I hit and entered the water. I didn't fully extend my arms, but I felt like I went in relatively straight. I just hoped the judges didn't notice that my arms weren't really extended.
It was about as good as I could expect from that dive. It should be smooth sailing from here! Too bad I'd botched the first one. Ugh.
I waited as 33 more divers took their turns. My third dive was my inward 1-1/2. I stood backwards on the board, jumped up and tried my best to stay over the board. I held my pike tightly and fought for a good, solid entry. I had my good solid entry, but the top didn't jump up that much and I apparently jumped it back quite a bit. My scores were fair, but not great.
My dives got easier as my list progressed. Next up was the reverse dive with a half twist. This is my money dive. I can nail it relatively well. I jumped up and I don't know what the heck happened, but it didn't go so well. I was way short going in and it just looked like garbage. I think this is the first time I've gotten a 3 on this dive. Pathetic.
My fate was pretty much sealed at this point. I most likely wouldn't get top ten.
I did my last dive and I honestly don't even recall how it went. My hurdle was a mess which threw me off. I completed the dive and think I walked away with fours or so out of that dive. I think the judges were being gracious and glad that the meet had ended with that being the final dive of the meet.
Corey began to announce the scores. It pains me to even write this entry which is probably why the writing is getting worse and less specific. I tanked. I took 11th. I beat those that had made it from our conference, but that was it. I lost to most everyone else. It was a lousy finish for my first day of state.
I felt like a mess on the hour drive home. I growled, I cried, I pushed the pedal to the metal and then went home and ate cake.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.