Local team finishes fifth at regionals in Salt Lake City

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FARMINGTON — In recent weeks, members of the Fuel Diving swim club have been trying to stay centered when their big moment arises, not letting it overwhelm them.

That’s what helped divers Mosiah Seavey, Helaman Seavey, Miley Rhames and Eliana Christensen from the Farmington-based Amateur Athletic Union squad place fifth overall at the west regionals March 17 in Salt Lake City. And they’re now convinced it’ll help them go a long way as they prepare for the team’s third nationals appearance on Memorial Day weekend in Coral Springs, Florida.

Coach Ian Donald said his team, the only New Mexico squad at regionals, will go up against divers seeking spots at the next Olympic trials.

“To get that far is a big deal. It makes it a lot more special,” Donald said. “It gives us hope for the future.”

Swimmers must place in the top six in their respective age group to reach nationals, Donald said.

The competition is broken into six age groups: 9-and-younger, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17 and 18-19.

“A mental, combined with bravery, game”

Donald said his team is working on maintaining its calm through the heat and craziness of bigger events.

Donald also said he’s emphasizing the smallest details, reminding his divers to keep their toes pointed and their heart rate in check, as well as practicing simple breathing exercises to quell any lingering stress.

“When we get to the heat of the meet, of course there’s chaos. You’ve got 120 kids going, you’ve got a lot of energy, you’ve got a lot of people smacking (the water) hard, anxiety,” Donald said. “When you’re on the boards, you’re working on getting a nice, pretty take-off. We work on mental, physical control all the time.”

The next step

Fuel Diving will spend the next couple of months making its jumps even smoother than before. Divers are emphasizing not bending their elbows and keeping their arms straight, which Donald said will help polish their throws off the board and help them reach maximum height in their jump.

“That’s pretty essential when we get to this level. They need to be able to do two flips and then dive it in. They like to do it in every direction, so they just need more air. We’re really focused on technique and style, and we’re making big leaps and bounds on everything,” Donald said.

Diver Mosiah Seavey said he’s also working on keeping his legs straighter during his reverse dives.

“There have been meets where my legs weren’t all the way up. My legs (would) kind of fall back or go a little over, so I need to keep them straight,” he said. “If you get your legs straighter, your toes pointed, the judges will score you higher because (the form) will look better, cleaner.”

Experience paying off

The Seavey brothers are returning to nationals for the second straight year, while Rhames and Christensen will compete at nationals for the first time.

“Seeing how it was last year, we can be more prepared for it,” Mosiah Seavey said.

And because of its experiences and training, Mosiah Seavey also said he’s not concerned about the team getting rusty during that long period away from live competition between now and nationals.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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