New twist for Sierra College diver

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Molly Swartz realizes she will not be just another diver Saturday at the Northern California junior college championships. The Sierra College sophomore has lost the advantage of being anonymous. Such is the price Swartz has to pay for being the defending state champion in the 1-meter competition. Swartz took a back seat last season to teammate Jodie Darnell, who won both the 1- and 3-meter events at the Northern California meet. Swartz was content just to earn a trip to the state meet. “I didn’t expect to do that well,” Swartz said. “I was second to Jodie all season. She was always beating me. I just wanted to be after Jodie (in the points standings) and get close to her scores.” All that changed once the two arrived at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut for the state championships. As Darnell can attest, anything can happen on any given day in diving. She was not at her best on the 1-meter board after earlier breaking two toes on her right foot during the 3-meter event. The injury occurred she did an inward double somersault and her foot hit the bottom of the pool. “The pool was 12 feet (deep) instead of 14,” Darnell said last week after a diving workout with Swartz at Sierra. “I got a perfect line (into the pool) and shot to the bottom faster than I expected.” Darnell has been training at Sierra to prepare for diving at Stony Brook University in New York next year. She can practice on the 3-meter board with the luxury of diving into 14 feet of water. The 2-foot difference at the 2010 state meet may have cost Darnell. She placed second, with Swartz third. Darnell was third on the 1-meter board after Swartz stole the show and the title. Swartz had no idea where she ranked in points until she finished her six dives and the results were announced. “I was definitely shocked when I got first,” Swartz said. “I was so nervous, but I didn’t throw up.” Darnell will be rooting for Swartz when her former teammate competes in the state meet April 28-30 at East Los Angeles College. Darnell went as far to say Swartz should bring home two titles. “As long as she dives solid, she’ll be the champion on both boards,” Darnell said. “It really comes down to who dives solid that day.” The Northern California meet will be an opportunity for Swartz to polish her dives before the state meet. The Nevada Union High School graduate will also unveil her latest dive on Saturday. Swartz has been working on an inward 2½ on the 3-meter board. She does not know of another diver who will attempt such a difficult dive, so she could have a huge advantage if she nails it. Any edge will come in handy for Swartz because she is now a somebody after being a nobody. “The pressure’s on definitely,” she said. “I’m just going to take it dive by dive.”