FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Darton State College sophomore Crawford Berry renewed his reign as the 3-meter diving national champion on Thursday at the NJCAA swimming and diving championships in Fort Pierce, Fla.
He set a Darton record with a score of 583.50 and beat his closest opponent by nearly 150 points.
“It was not even close,” Darton coach Will Breehl said. “It was Crawford Berry and then everybody else. He could have failed a dive and he still would have won by 30 or 40 points.”
Berry had commented prior to the meet that there was the added pressure of defending a pair of 2013 gold medals in the 1- and 3-meter events, but he believed when he stepped onto the diving boards his training would take over.
It certainly did.
“In the warmup, I was a little skeptical at first,” Berry said. “Everyone was doing real well, but I felt really good. My dives were on point. From then on, I knew.”
Into his routine, Berry incorporated a new dive called a fall-out, which consists of a forward two-and-a-half flip with a twist, he said. He called it the hardest dive he’d ever learned, and he and Darton diving coach Ed Goodman had been working on it for the last several weeks prior to the national meet.
“He really helped me out a lot this year,” Berry said of Goodman, who is in his first year of coaching at Darton. “Having him as a coach and getting to go to the Moose Moss Aquatic Center in Moultrie were probably the biggest factors in this.”
BERRY EYEING GOLD NO. 4: Berry led the 1-meter diving prelims Friday by 75 points and could win his fourth NJCAA gold medal in today’s 1-meter finals — a feat never before accomplished at Darton State.
Berry scored 537.26 points in Friday’s prelims with today’s finals scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Darton swimming and diving team has held its No. 2 ranking through the first 14 events at the national meet. The competitions conclude today after a final session at 6 p.m.
CARNIGLIA TAKES BRONZE: Darton State diver Kelsey Carniglia won a bronze medal in the women’s 3-meter diving competition at the NJCAA championships on Thursday.
Carniglia had a final score of 365.15. Teammate Sarah Hoop, the defending national champ in the event, scored 332.10 to finish fourth. Indian River’s Ashley Wright won the event with a final score of 486.2.