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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Small caps off a historic senior diving season

Provided by Jeremiah Small
Small dives into the pool.

After a high school career full of jaw-dropping dives, high scores, and dominant wins, senior University of Maine commit Jeremiah Small completed his senior season with a third-place finish at the MIAA State Championship and a new Westford Academy diving school record.

Going into the season, Small already held the WA diving record with a score of 306 points, a score that he set as a junior last year. But at the DCL Championships at the Beede Center on Feb. 1, Small scored 323.05 points on his six dives, crushing his old school record. With the win, Small defended his DCL title as the top diver in the conference for the third season in a row.

In order to increase his score by over 17 points, Small had to put in a great deal of work and dedication to improving his craft during both the off-season and in-season practices. With this practice came the ability to execute more difficult dives than he did last year. This led to him receiving higher scores, as the harder a dive is, the higher it is scored by judges during a meet.

The five dives that Small does during meets are the forward dive, backward dive, reverse dive, inward dive, and twisting dive. 

“My inward double dive is the most difficult technically, where I am backwards to the board and spinning straight forwards for two flips,” Small said.

Small has practice for WA three times a week, where he tends to practice all of his dives once and focuses on areas needing growth. He also practices with his club, Dolphin Diving, four to six times a week, where the training is more intense.

“High school practice is a lot more relaxed, because there is a lot of teaching the basics,” Small said. “My club practices are more intense, but this helps me to really grow and improve as a diver.”

Small considers the consistent work he has put in to be the driving force in his regaining of the DCL crown. This work could be frustrating at times for Small, as he would often get close to breaking his previous record throughout the season, but would come up just short due to minor errors in his dives.

“This season was definitely a little frustrating at times, because I was so close to that previous record. I was less than ten points away from breaking the record in at least three different meets, so until I broke [the record], it was frustrating,” Small said. “But after I got it, it felt great.”

Small’s success played a vital role in WA’s team success this year, as his individual wins would contribute to the team’s overall score for the meet.

“He is a vital part of the team. With him being the only boy diver, it pays for him to be as talented as he is,” senior captain Doug Caggiano said. “I can’t wait to see how he will perform in college.”

As an elite diver, Small faces physical challenges at every meet, where he must execute difficult dives at a high level. However, the mental challenges of diving also played a role in Small’s journey as a diver.

“Diving is 100% a mental sport, so coming over that mental challenge where you have to do a new dive and make a correction that might make you feel uncomfortable, it is important to push back against it,” Small said. “The only way to improve is if you are able to push through these mental challenges, and I feel like sometimes my ability to do that has held me back, but no one is perfect.”

Another obstacle that comes with diving is the fact that all of Small’s dives are scored by judges, meaning that his success is directly determined by someone else.

“Diving is all about other peoples’ opinions, because sometimes I feel like I am getting better, but the judges do not see it,” Small said. “It is important for me to recognize that I have gotten better and know that my work has paid off.”

While overcoming these hurdles, Small has established and developed relationships with his fellow competitors, making his high school diving career worthwhile.

“Since diving is such a niche sport, everyone knows each other,” Small said. “It is a lot of fun being with [the other divers].”

The long hours of practices and meets have not only made Small a better diver, but also taught him valuable lessons that he will take with him throughout his life.

“I have learned that it is important to forgive myself and accept my failures, so if I mess up, I am willing to recognize where I can grow moving forward,” Small said. “I have also learned that if you are nervous over something, [you should] push through it so that you do not miss out on opportunities.”

Next year, Small will continue his diving career at the University of Maine, where he will major in International Affairs and Economics. While on his visit, Small recognized the great bond amongst the team, and realized that he could see himself there for his college years.

“When I went there for my official visit, I was thrown into their schedule, and I really got to bond with everybody,” Small said. “They seemed like a really nice group of people, and I felt like I could have a really fun four years there.”

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About the Contributor
James Farley
James Farley, Editor-in-Chief
Hey, my name is James Farley, and I am a senior Editor-in-Chief for the WA Ghostwriter!  I love writing, and also have a passion for sports, so I am excited to incorporate these aspects of my life into my work here for the newspaper. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family and friends, going on vacations, and playing sports. I can’t wait for what’s in store this year with the Ghostwriter!

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