Five of the 16 members from diving teams across California community colleges that will complete in the state Swim and Dive Championships are from American River College.
Courtney Mathews, Javier Salcedo, Carson Marin, Jared Saldate and Zachary Yokoyama all qualified for the event, which runs from this Thursday until Sunday.
The qualifying meet was April 11 at Santa Rosa Junior College, which saw 29 men and 28 women compete.
Eight men and eight women were selected from the 57 total divers that competed.
ARC diving coach Dede Crayne expressed pride in the team for its accomplishments and credits the relaxed atmosphere and commitment the divers all have with each other.
“I try to keep it fun,” she said. “If you’re enjoying yourself, you’re going to show up to practice and if you show up to practice, you’re going to get better.”
“Keeping it enjoyable is a big part of it.”
All of the divers were excited to go to the event, and like Crayne, credited commitment and mental fortitude.
“It’s exciting because I know that I’ve been diving, I finally got a good reward out of it and I know it all paid off,” said Mathews.
Marin echoed Mathews’s feelings on the accomplishment.
“We worked all season, just to make it to state you feel accomplished that you didn’t put your work in for nothing,” he said.
Salcedo dealt with an injury early in the season but still managed to make the appearance.
“I started off the year with an injury, so I didn’t really think I’d make it, but I was really proud of myself to overcome that and be able to make it,” he said.
Crayne said the commitment of Salcedo as well as the rest of the divers were huge reasons why they made state.
“It’s a sport you don’t pick up overnight. It takes some years,” she said.
“The more experience you have, the more comfortable you get with it. It’s a mental, mental sport.”
All the divers agreed with Crayne’s assessment and said mentality is paramount to all when competing.
“It’s really difficult,” said Mathews. “It takes a ton of brain power to deal with these things. It’s hard though.”
Everyone also credited Crayne with helping them improve and get to where they are now.
“To practice all of those dives, you have to have a lot of trust in your coach,” said Saldate.
Yokoyama has worked with Crayne previously and is a member of a diving club she runs outside of ARC.
“I’ve been with (Crayne) since 2008,” he said. “She’s basically the reason for all my success. All the time she upts in and all the all the times she’s helped me.”
While the divers all have various goals they want to achieve at the event, Crayne said the key for all of them will be to just relax and take in the moment.
“Sometimes I tell them ‘Don’t think so much, let your body do it.’”
Yokoyama was bold and all in with what he hopes to accomplish.
“My goal is to take first on both boards in states,” he said. “I have to have a big concentration level.”