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M-P turns out strong divers
MARYSVILLE As just one of 12 events at a swim and dive meet, it can be easy to overlook the diving portion of a competition.
But both the boys and girls diving programs at M-P have had a great deal of success turning Tomahawk students into conference- and state-caliber athletes.
And whats more remarkable is that virtually none of the students dove before being recruited to the team in high school.
Really thinking about it, I think a lot of them come from the aquatics program from the high school, the P.E. program, said M-P boys diving coach Mike Montgomery, adding that physical education teacher and girls coach Jaci Legore Hodgins encourages them, You gotta go out for diving, youd love it.
By such recruitment effort, M-P has put together a roster of five divers who have qualified for the postseason state veteran Taylor Gibson, Zack Russell, Jordan Grenier-Contreras, Blake Allen and Connor Hemming. Unfortunately though, district rules limit schools to four participants in each category, which applies to swimming as well as diving.
Its a rule designed to keep large schools from stacking competitors in events and provide opportunities for smaller schools swimmers and divers to advance. And as one of the states largest schools, M-P will be affected.
A lifelong devotion to diving led Montgomery to coaching. After spending summers at the pool in Moses Lake, where he spent much of his childhood, Montgomery joined a club diving team in Seattle not long after moving to the area in sixth grade. Since then, the club team relocated to the aquatic center in Federal Way where at least one member of the M-P girls team practices.
Montgomery credited the high school pool for the teams ability to detect diving talent. With students drawn from swimming classes, M-P has an advantage that cant be matched by such schools as Snohomish, whose pool is not on site.
Im a teacher there at the high school and say to different classes, We have diving coming up, Montgomery said. It helps if youre a teacher at the school. Many coaches these days are not.