By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Once you reach your destination, the hope is that there is time to enjoy the accomplishment of getting there.
That’s what is in the game plan for Pendleton Heights junior Taylor Fiew, who qualified for Saturday’s IHSAA girls state swim meet by finishing sixth at the Fishers Regional on Tuesday.
“The diving regional is a unique experience,” said PH swim coach Jeff Maydak. “The goal is to finish in the top eight. This is a tough regional. Last year, three of the top five finishers at the state came from this regional.”
Fiew’s diving coach, Kevin Rockhill, agreed. “The regionals are odd,” he said. “It only matters that you finish in the top eight. When she got to her last dive, she didn’t have to do it. She was already in eighth.”
Fiew performed her dive anyway. She finished with 383.55 points. The regional winner was Fishers freshman Cortnee Williams, who tallied 477.45 points. All of the other girls who finished ahead of Fiew are also juniors.
Fiew was taking no chances and seriously approached that last dive.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “I didn’t believe I made it (to state). I still don’t believe it.”
When asked when the reality would set in, she answered, “Probably on Saturday morning.” The state’s top eight divers from each of the four regionals will compete at the state Saturday at 9 a.m. Then the top 16 move on to the afternoon finals.
Along her path to the state, Fiew won the Hoosier Heritage Conference title and set the school record for points.
Rockhill is ready for her to relax and enjoy it. “The hay is in the barn, so let’s enjoy the winter,” he said. “This is the end of a long road. When she understood that she made it to the state, I saw one of the few genuine smiles from her.”
“I think there was a little sense of relief,” said Maydak. “In the sectional and the regional, there’s always the tension about whether you are going to make it to the next level. Now all 32 of these divers are done on Saturday regardless of what happens.”
Fiew thinks the relaxation might happen. “It is fun to see people there that I know and have competed against,” she said. “I will try not to be too serious.”
With 32 divers in the field Saturday morning, there will be a significant time period between her dives.
“I try to listen to music and not hear the scores,” she said. Her focus can be on her own performance — something she can control. You can play defense in diving. Her experience in national meets at the club level should be valuable in preparing her for what comes next.
The goals for Saturday?
“She has got a chance to finish in the top 16,” Rockhill said. “I’m not going to put expectations on her. But we want her picture on the wall of fame (at Pendleton Heights) and I think that’s for the top 16.”
Fiew will dive from position 27 among the 32 divers on Saturday morning.