For a sport with so many variations, Larissa Grammer has had no problem picking out her favorite dive.
The Moffat County High School freshman rode the inward one-and-a-half dive to a first-place finish at the Dec. 19 Moffat County Invitational, and she hopes it will carry her into the state meet.
“It’s exhilarating, and a lot of fun,” Larissa said. “All the inward dives have to be my favorite. There’s something about them — they’re not like any other dive.
“It’s something new to me, so it’s fun to play around with that.”
With another score of 185 or better, Larissa will join fellow MCHS diver Genna Bradley at the Feb. 13 state meet in Grand Junction.
Divers need to have two qualifying scores of 185 or better to make the meet.
Larissa qualified Jan. 9 in Aspen, and has a chance to punch her ticket this Friday in Delta or Saturday in Grand Junction.
The dive that has bolstered Larissa also happens to be her favorite.
“With most dives, it’s big to get a (score of) six or seven,” she said. “I had a six and a half on the one-and-a-half inward, which has definitely been my best.”
Below is the dive, as explained by Larissa:
Grammer walks to the end of the board with her back toward the water.
She then springs up and backward into the water, tucking her legs while building height and momentum.
Larissa begins the first of one-and-a-half somersaults.
In addition to form, she can pick up points with height, Larissa said.
“The hardest part for most people is not pushing out,” she said. “When you push out, you stand up and get height, and push back so you’re out further from the board.”
When she finishes the second rotation, she should be facing away from the diving board.
“You want to go into the water straight with your hands first,” Larissa said. “You don’t want to pike it or arch it.”
Pike and arch refer to bending too far forward or backwards, and going into the water crooked, which can deduct points.
“You want to make sure your toes are pointed,” Larissa said. “And you want to make sure you keep it in, until you are straight up and down.”
New sport, new year
For Larissa, 14, the dive is only one new addition this year.
The freshman, who is originally from Craig, moved in 2005 to Montrose and back to Craig before the 2009-2010 school year started.
“It’s definitely been hard,” she said of the transition. “It’s been weird seeing kids I’ve grown up with be so much different. I still see them as the little kids they were, but they’re not. To them, I must be so different.”
Diving is also a new change for Larissa.
“I’ve been a gymnast since I was about five, and we moved to Montrose for gymnastics,” she said. “Once we moved back, I needed a different sport to fall into. Diving seemed like a really good one to somehow keep up with gymnastics.”
There are more similarities between diving and gymnastics than meets the eye, Larissa said.
“You have to be confident of flipping, and you’re not scared of the big tricks,” she said. “You know where your body is, you know control, and at the same time it’s really different.
“It’s different in the way you take off for the dive, the way that you feel on the board opposed to how you would on the floor or beam.”
More than two months into her high school diving career, Larissa said she prefers it to swimming.
“For me, and the age I’m at, gymnastics is getting so hard,” she said. “It’s so tough on the body. That’s why for me it’s diving. I can do the same stuff without feeling the pain.”
Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.