The Sentinel-Record

Lakeside’s dive title ‘a whole lot sweeter’


Lakeside senior diver Anna Lewis ended her diving career as a Lady Ram with a Class 5A state championsh­ip Feb. 24

Lewis broke the state record set in 2017 by Ansley Anders of Shiloh Christian. Lewis’ record is now 388.70 for scoring.

“Anna is my fourth diver in a row to win a state title,” Lakeside head swim and dive coach Jeff Haynes said. “Last year I made a clerical error on her dive sheet and she missed a dive out of the 11. She had worked up with those two mistakes to third place. After two mistakes you’re disqualifi­ed and third place is 15 points and we lost state by 14 points. We should have been state champions last year.”

Haynes is a jack of all trades when it comes to Lakeside sports. He is the head coach of cross-country, indoor and outdoor track and swim and dive.

Haynes is in his fifth season as the swim and dive coach.

“When I took over the program I had seven kids total,” Haynes said. “We had 48 on the roster this year. When we are on the board we have to drive to Bryant. We practice at Bishop Park. We rent that place three days a week in the evenings and every Saturday morning. We use FlicFlac Gym that has trampoline­s, belts and work on tumbling and twisting.”

Lakeside was state runner-up in girls dive for the past two seasons.

The Lakeside Lady Rams have been 5A-South conference champions three years in a row, and the boys have been runner-up twice.

“We go to qualifying meets,” Haynes said. “There are five classifica­tions of diving. Forward, backward, inward, reverse and twist. You have to land two in all the five categories and a third one in any category. You must have 11 dives to qualify for state. They must be scored in a meet where you finished.”

If you have two misses in a six dive meet, divers are disqualifi­ed and none of the divers’ scores count.

“If you score four 10s and you miss two it is like you did not even show up for the meet,” Lewis said. “It is really difficult to qualify.”

Lewis said it felt amazing to win state. “We had that little hiccup last year,” she said. “We call it the forbidden mistake. We do not talk about it. Coach Haynes came up to me right after, I was crying of course. He said, ‘That’s going to make it a whole lot sweeter next year.’”

The state competitio­n is an 11-dive meet.

“She came out with a forward, one and a half and absolutely nailed it,” Haynes said. “She dove first of the eight girls, and she set the bar very high. We were seeing 7.5 and even an 8.5, which is pretty high for a high school diver.”

As if it was fate, Lewis’ rival junior Izzy Clements of Russellvil­le dove last at the state meet, and Lewis held a 46-point lead going into the final moments.

“Anna comes out on her last dive and just hit a beautiful dive,” Haynes said. “Izzy had a double front to do, which has a 2.2 degree of difficulty. She could have overcome Anna. Izzy came up a little bit short. We hate to cheer when somebody has a bad dive, but as soon as she hit the bad dive, we all just threw our hands up. We were just excited for Anna.”

Lewis said she gets along great with Clements.

“She is my biggest competitio­n, and all season we have been back and forth with scoring,” Lewis said. “Whenever we were standing there, the meet director came up and said, ‘I promise this is a coincidenc­e, but you are first and she is last.’ We had that moment of OK, one of us has to start and one of us has to end this.”

Lewis said it feels good to break a record.

“Everything this year feels a whole lot sweeter,” she said. “All of the memories, practices and all of the pain feels sweeter. I enjoyed every interactio­n and every little point. I came to win, but just adding that record on top, we did not even know until 15 minutes after.”

Lewis is attending the University of North Alabama for interior architectu­re.

“I had a few college offers,” Lewis said. “It is one of those things where coach Haynes has been my coach since the fifth grade for all the sports I have ever done. He has been right there. We know each other. We know how the other operates and I knew that if I went to college it would be a lot different. I just wanted to hold on to this memory and go out with a bang.”

The coach and diver built a bond throughout the years.

“Anna and I have a special relationsh­ip,” Haynes said. “I have told her this many times. She is one of the ones that is like the spokesman for the rest of the girls. If something was going on with the cross-country team, Anna wasn’t my fastest cross-country runner, but if something was going on, she was the one that would come knock on the door and say, ‘Hey we have an issue.’ We would sit down and discuss it and figure out what to do.

“I am going to miss her a lot. Every year you have seniors that you say, ‘I’m glad I do not have to deal with them anymore.’ Then you have seniors like Anna that you say, ‘I am really going to miss her.’”

 ?? The Sentinel-Record/Lance Porter ?? ■ Lakeside head dive coach Jeff Haynes and senior Anna Lewis speak about Lewis’ state title at the Lakeside Field House.
The Sentinel-Record/Lance Porter ■ Lakeside head dive coach Jeff Haynes and senior Anna Lewis speak about Lewis’ state title at the Lakeside Field House.

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