PLAINVILLE - The qualifications a high school diver must meet to perform at the Class S state meet are achieving 160 points while having a degree of difficulty of 9.0 through his six dives.
In just the team’s second meet of the season, Plainville diver Bryan Buckley set a new personal record of 169.40 and a qualification to states Tuesday in the Blue Devils 89-86 win over East Catholic.
Buckley, as the sole diver of the afternoon and with a large amount of pressure on his shoulders in securing points for Plainville, ended up having one of the best meets he has ever had. Buckley’s overall performance can as a surprise to the senior and he didn’t expect it with it being so early in the season.
“It was very nerve wrecking being the only diver out of both teams [Tuesday],” Buckley said. “All day in my head I was saying ‘Oh my god, I hope the competition isn’t going to blow me away because my parents are here, my friends are here so I don't want to embarrass myself.’ Then I found out I was literally the only one and it sort of eased the pressure that I had. Once I got on the board, everything was easy.”
Plainville has three divers total, but two of the three are brand new to the sport. Every week, the divers must perform six dives in a dual meet. But while the other two get up to speed, Buckley will be a one-man show.
Yet, Buckley’s easy going attitude is the reason why he performed so well.
“Bryan is one of my captains this year,” Plainville head coach Chris Zagorski said. “He was a state qualifier last year [too]. He had a great list and was able to execute his dives. I know he was a little hesitant diving by himself because it puts a little bit more pressure on him but he was able to dive through it and he did what he needed to do.”
Although doing well is important to Buckley, he also takes pride in his leadership role for the Blue Devils.
“Honestly I just want to make an impact in this team,” Buckley said. “I want to set the path for some of the younger swimmers on this team. Being able to set a leadership path and be an example especially is definitely one of the things I want to achieve this year and just showing them with hard work and dedications and the heart you can literally do anything.”
After Plainville’s win on Tuesday, its record now sits at 1-1. The Blue Devils will see Hartford Public today at home at 4 p.m. and are expecting to carry the momentum for the East Catholic meet over to this one.
“I definitely want to see more wins like we did [Tuesday],” Buckley said. “And I want to see more swimming like we did [Tuesday]. Obviously, every team isn't going to be perfect, but I know we have a great set of guys and I feel like we can do a lot at states this year.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org