Diving dream

Sophomore diver sees improvement with new coach


Then freshmen Hayden Black jumps on the diving board to gain power before completing his dive on Nov. 22, 2021. Black improved on his results from last season by qualifying for the regional meet this year.

Sophomore Hayden Black knew he had done it before the final score was in. He was 50 points above his trailing diver and well on his way to regionals.

“At that point it was a huge weight off my shoulders,” Black said. “I knew I didn’t need to stress anymore at that point, I just had to be consistent throughout the rest.”

Black hasn’t always been a diver. He used to be very into skateboarding and trampolining, which greatly helps his flips and tricks for diving. When it gets cold in the winter, it is hard to continue those activities, so Black’s dad suggested swimming as an option, and he picked up the sport during eighth grade.

“During the winter, it gets cold and you can’t really do anything,” Black said. “I think it was my dad who suggested doing (swimming).”

This year, Black had a new diving coach: Caitlyn May. She previously attended SHS and was also a diver. This is May’s first year as the SHS diving coach, but she has already seen major improvements from the beginning of the season.

For example, Black’s confidence and technique have improved since the start of the season. But most importantly, his love for the sport has grown as well. It hasn’t gone unnoticed  and May sees how hard he has been working all season.

It’s all him, it’s not me. It’s him putting in the work and him continuing to try his best everyday.

— Diving coach Caitlyn May

“It’s all him, it’s not me,” May said. “It’s him putting in the work and him continuing to try his best everyday. Me, as the coach, I guide and support him. That’s my job. He does the hard work, he is one who is putting in those hours and coming into practice and trying his best, even after smacking. When he wants to give up, he is not giving up. So that is all him.”

May focuses on the basics, which helps Black get solid on the essentials, making him a better overall diver. Black says his technique was sloppy at the beginning of the season and that May helped him tighten up going back to the basics.

Going into regionals, Black planned to take things one dive at a time and stay calm.

Even though he didn’t end up making it on to state, placing tenth at the regional meet, he was still able to improve on his overall score from sectionals. And, as this season ends, he knows how much he’s learned and knows it will take him far in future years.

Through diving he has learned to slow down and focus on the basics.

“Just slow down,” Black said. “Go back to the key principles because whenever you’re not having a good day, just go back over and try again.”