Pine-Richland diver breaks WPIAL record and defends title
Dominic Giordano didn't have an inkling of how many points he needed to set the WPIAL Class AAA record when he stepped on the board for his final dive.
He flat out knew.
“I counted all my scores and figured out what I needed to get,” Giordano said. “I know I shouldn't do that, but I did it anyway.”
His count was almost perfect as the Pine-Richland senior scored 70.20 on a forward one-and-a-half somersault with two twists and a 2.6 degree of difficulty to finish with 610 points to set the district record and, in the process, won his second consecutive WPIAL Class AAA diving title.
The outcome was never in doubt as he finished 113.35 points ahead of second-place finisher Noah Bostick of North Hills.
“The score that I needed to get and what I calculated was the score that I got, so I was really happy,” Giordano said. “Usually you kind of know when you do dives well and when you don't do them well. The board felt really good, my top was great, and when I hit the water I kind of knew I hit the dive really well.”
Giordano, who has committed to dive at Florida State, broke the previous mark of 607.30 set in 2011 by North Allegheny's Connor Kuremsky. Not only did he beat the record of the only four-time WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA boys diving champion, he did it in Kuremsky's home pool.
“I guess I'm trying to let it all settle in right now,” Giordano said. “Going into this week, I was really stressing because I wasn't doing that well in practice. I just had to relax.”
Giordano has another opportunity to erase Kuremsky from the record book if he can beat his PIAA-record 599.50 at the state meet March 15-16 at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium. Only marks set in the PIAA meet count as state records.
In 2012, Giordano finished fifth in the state with a score of 474.65, well below the 544.50 he posted in the WPIAL finals.
“That would be awesome, and that would be icing on the cake,” Giordano said. “States is always a little bit different judging because these judges (in the WPIAL) know all these divers, but we'll see.”
Maria Lohman also made history. The Chartiers Valley sophomore became the first to win titles in consecutive years in different classifications when she edged Bethel Park's Ashley Sams by 4.55 points.
“I feel good about that because this year was a little bit tougher because of the competition,” Lohman said. “I just tried to focus.”
Sams went first in the final round and finished with 463.05 points, meaning Lohman needed a score of 37.95 or better on her final attempt to at least tie for the title. Instead she scored 42.50 on a back one-and-a-half somersault with one-and-a-half twists and a degree of difficulty of 2.5 to finish at 467.60 and capture the title.
“She definitely kept me on my toes,” said Lohman, who won the Class AAA title last year before Chartiers Valley was realigned. “My first couple of rounds were a little off, and she pushed me early to keep my mind straight and hit my dives.”
The top six divers from the WPIAL advance to the PIAA meet next month.