Men’s divers compete in Liberty Fall Classic at Natatorium
Liberty University's men's diving team competed in its first meet of the semester on Nov. 10, hosting the Liberty Fall Classic AAU meet at the Liberty Natatorium.
"We dove really well," said Flames diving Coach Lucas Wood, who complements swimming Head Coach Heath Grishaw. "The guys had good performances on the 1-meter board that they can take forward to other meets and to the (March 29-31 Collegiate Club Swimming & Diving) national championships."
Jordan Dennett won the 1-meter diving event with a score of 188.60 followed by sophomore Danny Fernandez (179.95), Sawyer Shultz (168.70), junior Kyle Blackwood (161.55), sophomore Matthew MacDonald (159.50), and freshman Elijah Jantomaso (156.90).
In the platform competition, Blackwood finished first with a best dive of 142.35 while Shultz (129.40) placed second followed by Fernandez (128.65), Dennett (125.20), Jantomaso (115.70), and MacDonald (106.30).
"Kyle Blackwood shocked everybody on the tower and was able to get a good victory," Wood said, noting that Dennett had shown the most promise in practices. "He kind of just gets it. You can tell he's done some cliff jumping. He has the ability to know where he is in the air and puts a good entry on any of his dives."
MacDonald is the team's top returning diver after placing 14th at nationals last spring, helping the swimming & diving team to a 13th-place overall finish.
"He dove really well at nationals last year and we are really excited about him," Wood said. "He's moved into more of a leadership role with the team. He puts in extra effort when we are working out, working on getting his lines right on his entries and not causing too much of a splash."
Liberty will travel to the University of North Carolina for its next competition on Dec. 1, when it expects to face many more collegiate divers from around the region.
"The plan is to travel to at least two more events, and possibly host a combined swimming & diving meet next semester to prepare for nationals," Wood said. "They've gotten better by leaps and bounds from the beginning of the season, but they realized from this meet they still have a lot of work they need to do."