Leopards make plunge in diving

by Brice Nixon
Staff Writer

Swim meets are commonly decided by the team that performs better in the two diving events. The University of La Verne swim teams gave themselves a chance to contend for the conference championships by continuing a season-long trend of surprising success.

ULV’s swim team, a program completing its inaugural season, kept pace with the University of Redlands in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Diving Championships last Saturday at the Cerritos Aquatics Center with strong performances from both divers.

Freshman Debbee Lewis finished seventh in the three-meter for the women’s team with 340 points, a vast improvement after finishing 14th in the season’s first meet.

Lewis was the consolation winner, missing the finals by a point and a half. She also was only 20-30 points from qualifying for Nationals.

“It was really close,” said head coach John Hallman. “There were only four points separating six divers.”

Sophomore Mario Guerrero placed ninth in the one-meter for the men’s team, as did Lewis for the women’s team.

“This is his first year diving ever,” Hallman said of Guerrero. “It’s phenomenal what he was able to accomplish in the short amount of time. He’s a tremendous athlete.”

The fact that there was no one specific diving coach working with Lewis and Guerrero made the performances even more remarkable.

“If I was a diver, that would have been pretty frustrating,” said Hallman of the coaching matter. “What they accomplished with that was just remarkable.”

Hallman said he expects five or six more divers for next year’s team along with a diving coach.

“Mario and Debbee laid the groundwork for the divers for next year,” he said.

The SCIAC Swimming Championships continue today and tomorrow with the nine swimming events at the Cerritos Aquatics Center.

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