Va. Tech Diver Represents in 6th Place
The crowd’s applause reached a peak at yesterday’s USA Diving Spring National Championships in Germantown when Mikey McDonald received his sixth-place medal in the men’s three-meter springboard. Covered from head to toe in Virginia Tech maroon and orange, McDonald smiled, knowing he had provided his fellow Hokies with a proud moment at the end of a tragic week.
McDonald, a freshman at Virginia Tech and a two-time All-Met from W.T. Woodson High in Fairfax, finished with 372.55 points. Winner Troy Dumais of Austin scored 497.55 at the Germantown Indoor Swim center in Boyds.
McDonald put aside the grief and distractions of Monday’s shootings and performed well on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
“We actually thought about going home to be with them, but we decided that even though we wanted to be with everyone, we thought it would be better to stay here and represent Virginia Tech as best we can,” said McDonald, who attended the week-long meet with Hokies diving coach Ron Piemonte. “When I was diving, I just said, ‘Relax, and do it for the people at Tech.’ ”
McDonald was at home in Northern Virginia on Monday when the shootings occurred. In the days that followed, McDonald and Piemonte juggled training with concern for those in Blacksburg.
“For us, the hardest part was to sit there and watch the TV and go: ‘Oh, there’s the pool. There’s the sidewalk we walk down everyday,’ ” Piemonte said. “It was just hitting so hard that he had problems sleeping. I had problems sleeping. . . .
“People were surprised that he was even diving. For him to finish up like this is Hokie pride.”
Dumais, a two-time Olympian, reclaimed his three-meter national championship after winning four straight titles from 2001 to ’05.
He finished second a year ago to Chris Colwill but beat him yesterday with his final dive — a reverse 21⁄ summersault with a 11⁄ twist in
2 2 a pike position. Colwill finished with 454.05.Whitman All-Met senior Matt Cooper finished eighth (367.20) after placing second in the semifinals.
The semifinals “was one of the best sets I’ve ever done,” Cooper said. “I was really confident going into this, but you can’t do as well every day. But I know there’s going to be many more.”
In the women’s 10-meter platform final, Haley Ishimatsu, a 14year-old from Seal Beach, Calif., edged 2000 Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson, 369-365.20.
Notes: Mary Yarrison, a fourtime All-Met at Lee in Springfield and now a junior at the University of Texas, won the one-meter springboard title on Wednesday and took third with Abby Johnston of Columbus, Ohio, in the three-meter synchronized event on Friday. . . . The meet wraps up today with the women’s three-meter final at 1 p.m. and the men’s 10-meter final immediately afterward.