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Published May 15th, 2019
Lamorinda divers score big at NCS; three head to state meet
Jacqueline Samaniego (Acalanes) scored second place in girls competition (29 divers). Photos Gint Federas

Taking a dive is generally a pejorative term when it refers to sporting events. It was just the opposite for the Lamorinda divers in the North Coast Section Diving Championships May 7 at the Concord Community Pool. Of the 29 girls and 26 boys who qualified for the NCS, six were Lamorinda divers.
For the boys, two of the divers qualified for the state tournament - junior Josiah Klock (Campolindo) who came in first and senior Deivi Moretti (Miramonte) who came in second. Sophomore Daniel Zabronsky (Campolindo) came in seventh. For the girls, Jacqueline Samaniego (Acalanes) was the sole qualifier for state, finishing second. Junior Haley Tang (Campolindo) came in 16th and freshman Alexia Dunlavey (Acalanes) came in 18th.
Klock, who finished in fourth place last year, was excited about coming out on top this year: "Winning feels great after putting in so much work. It was a tough competition and I'm going to do the same things I've been doing in preparing for the state tournament."
Will Haynes is the diving coach for Acalanes, Campolindo, Miramonte and Las Lomas and explained why Klock was so successful: "Josiah made a great transformation from last year. He is more muscled, well balanced and very consistent. He is able to move the diving board and get a lot of energy. He always has good form and as a junior has another year to improve."
Moretti drew his inspiration from the talent at the meet: "It was a stressful competition with a lot of good divers and I knew I had to do clean dives and score well consistently. All the divers cheer and encourage each other." He is particularly looking forward to the state tournament after injuring himself at the finals last year while warming up.
Haynes has seen constant improvement from Moretti: "Deivi has been to NCS all four years. He's one of the highest divers I've ever seen off the board. He is very artistic and well rounded."
As a senior, Samaniego brought the combination of attitude and effort to the tournament: "Last year at state, I was intimidated and this year I will focus on myself and enjoy the tournament. The competition is my friend. I dive five days a week for two hours and some days I will invest two hours on dry land."
Samaniego, who became a diver after suffering injuries during gymnastics, is doing great, said Haynes: "Jacqueline is a very strong diver and is at the peak of her high school career and I look forward to seeing her dive next year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo."
To qualify for this event as a freshman and sophomore is a real tribute to Dunlavey and Zabronsky. Haynes is excited at the potential that Zabronsky showed this year: "Daniel really pushed himself and cleaned up his dives, said Haynes. "He really figured out his body. For Alexia to make it to the NCS level as a freshman is a great accomplishment. She's young and has a great future."
Dunlavey has also been working at Sherman Diving in Lafayette. Steve Sherman sees a great future for her: "Alexia has come a long way and has a lot of potential. She has great form and strength and has been working on her balance. Being a former gymnast has helped her in many ways."
Tang came into the tournament at less than full strength having just got over the flu but still had a perpetual smile on her face: "There was a lot of spirit here and everyone was cheering for everyone. It's a very friendly environment. You can talk to the other divers between dives. I'm looking forward to coming back next year."
Sherman has also been working with Tang and appreciates her talent and demeanor: "Hayley is a beautiful diver and an awesome student. She is a strong diver and is great to work with. She walks in the door and is very calm and relaxed. She is a joy to be around."
Diving is obviously more than just jumping off a board, said Haynes: "You have to know your body and to be able to understand in a split second what you did right or wrong and that takes a lot of discipline to develop that skill. It all starts with the right foundation on the board along with strength in the legs, the core, the arms and shoulders."
Then there is the mental aspect of diving. Besides strength, Sherman speaks of the need for divers to have "confidence, courage and grace and proprioception (knowing where the parts of your body are)."
Haynes approaches each diver individually: "I have to know and feel out each athlete whether to push them or not. When they try a new dive, I want to instill confidence in them so they know that they have got it physically and mentally."
His efforts have not been lost on his divers. "Will is a great coach," said Dunlavey. "He understands diving and gives us great feedback." Moretti spoke of how "he gave us a lot of advice during the meet." Klock appreciated that "Will had a good balance between pushing us and giving us space."
At the state meet, Samaniego finished in 12th place, while Moretti finished in 23rd place and Klock finished in 25th place.

Josiah Klock of Campolindo takes first at May 7 NCS Diving Championships (26 divers).
From left: Deivi Moretti, coach Will Haynes, Josiah Klock and Daniel Zabronsky Photo provided by Stephanie Klock
State qualifier Jackie Samaniego, fourth from left. Photo provided by Stephanie Klock

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