Topsail High School diver advances to regional meet


Topsail High School's Maddie Black was the only high school diver at a recent swim meet at University of North Carolina Wilmington's Natatorium.

Alan Cradick / Halifax Media Services
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 03:31 PM.

Swimmers from seven  high schools crowded UNCW’s diving pool on a late-January evening, angling for a clear look at the board. Above, the parents who packed the natatorium’s metal bleachers turned that way, too.

Maddie Black had previously competed in two meets this winter, both times well before the swimming started with only a handful of spectators present. Now the Mideastern Conference took a break from its championship meet to make the Topsail High School diver the center of attention.

Black later acknowledged nerves as she stepped onto the board for the first of her six dives, but each time she hit the water, the crowd broke into appreciative applause.

“Knowing that everyone was excited made me more excited,” Black said.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association has contested 1-meter diving in conjunction with its state swim meets for more than four decades, but athletes from this area have rarely, if ever, taken part.

Black became the first diver in recent memory to compete at the Mideastern Conference meet, and she headed to Raleigh on Monday for the 3A East region meet. She also swam the 200 individual medley on Tuesday in Cary.

Black began diving during her freshman year of high school in Massachusetts, but she’s ramped up her training over the past three months through the fledgling Wilmington Dive Club to learn the 11 dives necessary to compete at regionals.

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