Diving into the unknown

New coach, diver set for first championship


At 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, the north parking lot at Moffat County High contained four cars. Half of the owners of the vehicles could be found at the pool.

The hallways of the school were silent until the doors of the natatorium were opened and country music danced out.

Beyond the stereo, Moffat County junior Brittnie Durham and coach Dave Fix were in the southwest corner of the pool just as they've been two or three mornings a week for the better part of two months.

Class starts earlier than usual for Durham on these days.

Durham is a diver. Fix is her teacher.

As practice finished, Durham attempted a double somersault three times. Each time she came closer to fully extending her legs after the two rotations.

"Good, now kick out more," Fix said.

The "double," as it is known in swim jargon, is Durham's hardest dive, according to the junior.

"I've done a lot of hard cannonballs," she said. "I've also hit my back a couple of times."

Durham and Fix are rookies on the Bulldogs swimming and diving team.

Fix signed on after former coach Ed Stehlin left.

Durham signed when, after thinking about it for a couple of years, she decided that because she wasn't in any other sports, she'd dive.

Emily Kirk and Clarrissa Dilldine also stuck with diving through the season to give the Bulldogs some group support in the early mornings.

Durham was preparing for the regional diving competition. Saturday's 11-dive contest at the Western Slope Championships is only the junior's second time to compete taking more than six dives.

"I hope to make it through the first round," she said.

An 11-dive competition is separated into three rounds. All of the divers compete in the first round, then the field is reduced for another round of dives. The final round involves the top eight divers.

"If she makes it to finals, I'll be elated," Fix said.

The Jeffco meet at the beginning of January was Durham's first 11-dive experience.

"I let her go with some of the easier dives the first time," Fix said. "This time, she needs to go for the higher degree of difficulty."

Considering that all of the divers started with just the basics at the beginning of the season, Fix was impressed to have a diver capable of competing in the postseason.

"I've been impressed by how much she has achieved," he said. "Brittnie is diving better than some girls who have two or three years experience. She has exceeded my expectations."

Fix, who was a diver in high school, hopes that Durham can be the first of many Bulldog divers under his tutelage to compete at the regional and state level.

"We just have to get athletically coordinated people interested," he said.

"This has been extremely fun this year, and I hope to get involved as diving coach in Craig."

For now, the coach and diver will focus on the preliminaries Saturday.

"I would like to score around 140 points," Durham said. "Considering at the beginning of the season I was just learning to do an approach, I don't know exactly what to expect."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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