ORLANDO — Seacrest diver Parker Roth finished third at the Class 1A state swimming and diving meet on Friday, a result the ultra-competitive senior wasn’t necessarily pleased with.
“I’m kind of disappointed in my performance,” Roth said. “I was expecting first or second.”
But the third-place outcome was the best finish of Roth’s career — he was fifth last year and 15th in 2009 — and an admirable result for someone who’s only been diving for a little more than two years.
Roth, formerly a competitive trampoline jumper and gymnast, didn’t begin diving till his sophomore year.
His coach, Chuck Slaght, tried to stress that to him after the meet.
“They’re really difficult dives and he’s really just started to work on them,” Slaght said of the dives Roth struggled with. “You’re trying to increase the difficulty of your dives, and it’s pretty difficult when you’re trying to do that and it’s sort of late in the season. For only having two years experience against guys with five to 13 years experience, I’m proud of him.”
Seacrest put out an open call for divers in 2009 and asked Roth to try it out.
Being athletic, flexible and accustomed to flying through the air, Roth learned quickly. He was instantly one of the best divers in the area and good enough to compete at states in his first year.
“It just came natural,” Roth said. “It was an easy transition, already knowing how to flip and knowing where you are in the air.”
He’s steadily improved over the last two years, developing into a legitimate state title contender this year.
And he’s receiving interest from numerous colleges, including Florida and the University of Chicago.
“He has an opportunity at the next level to be really good,” said Slaght, who’s been coaching swimming since the mid-1960s. “Diving is a sport where it’s hard to find people who are good. It’ll be fun to see what he ends up doing.”
Roth’s Seacreast teammate, Alex Farrow, finished 16th in the diving competition.
Three swimmers from Community School — Kristian Kemppainen in the 50 free, Nicholas Lewis in the 100 breast and Melissa Arbelaez in the 100 back — competed in the preliminary session but didn’t qualify for the finals.
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Class 1A state state swimming and diving meet
At Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center, Orlando
1. Jacksonville Bolles 446, 2. Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest 303.5, 3. Orlando Lake Highland 194, 4. Plantation American Heritage 172, 5. Boca Raton St. Andrew’s 137, 6. Weston Sagemont 87, 7. Westminster Academy 81, 8. Ransom Everglades 72, 9. Miami Doral Academy 71, 10. St. Pete Shorecrest Prep. Locals: 25. Seacrest 17.
200 medley relay: Jacksonville Bolles, 1:30.28; 200 free: Yousef Alaskari, Plantation American Heritage, 1:36.98; 200 IM: Teo D’Alessandro, Jacksonville Bolles, 1:49.27; 50 free: Sean Duggan, Lake Highland, 20.36; Diving: Jack Stein, Shorecrest Prep; 100 fly: Yousef Alaskari, American Heritage, 47.90; 100 free: Sean Duggan, Lake Highland, 44.29; 500 free: Ryan Rosenbaum, Cardinal Gibbons, 4:30.77; 200 free relay: Jacksonville Bolles, 1:23.02; 100 back: Ryan Murphy, Jacksonville Bolles, 47.59; 100 breast: Diguan Pigot, Miami Doral Academy, 56.44; 400 free relay: Jacksonville Bolles, 3:00.67.
1. Jacksonville Bolles 369, 2. Plantation American Heritage 209.5, 3. St. Andrew’s Boca Raton 187, 4. Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest 164, 5. Winter Park Trinity Prep 158, 6. Tampa Prep 134, 7. Bishop Kenny 120, 8. Stuart Pine School 76, 9. Fort Lauderdale University 72, 10. Ransom Everglades 70.
200 medley relay: American Heritage, 1:43.04; 200 free: Lauren Driscoll, American Heritage, 1:46.15; 200 IM: Lindsey McKnight, American Heritage, 1:59.27; Cat Galletti, Trinity Prep, 23.14; Diving: Carolyn Chaney, Pine Crest; 100 free: Lindsey McKnight, American Heritage, 49.91; 500 free: Lauren Driscoll, American Heritage, 4:47.15; 200 free relay: Boca Raton St. Andrew’s, 1:35.61; 100 back: Tasija Karosas, St. Andrew’s, 53.97; 100 breast: Emily Kopas, University, 1:04.22; 400 free relay: American Heritage, 3:23.94