Heading into the Schuylkill League diving championships, Dane DeWire knew his only real competition would be against the record books.
The Tamaqua senior was the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth straight league title, and he came through in record-breaking fashion.
DeWire's score of 494.50 in the 11-dive competition easily shattered the school and league marks while earning him a gold medal four-peat Friday at the Tamaqua Area High School natatorium.
On the girls side, Kelsey Holland of Pottsville emerged as league champion with a score of 341.75.
There were only two boys in the competition, and as expected, DeWire easily outdistanced Schuylkill Haven runner-up Jackson Fleagle, who finished with a score of 285.05.
"He had his sights set and he dove very well today," said Tamaqua Coach Eric Lech. "Dane has his own standards, and that's what he strives for. This will serve him well and give him confidence heading into Districts."
By the sixth round of dives, DeWire had built a 100-point cushion, so the only real suspense was whether or not he would reach a trio of milestones.
"That was the only thing I was really worried about, making sure I beat last year's score of 401," related DeWire. "I missed the record last year by less than half a point. I wanted to make sure that this year, it happened."
In true dominating fashion, DeWire saved three of his best dives for last, and all three were beautiful to behold.
On his ninth dive, an inward double somersault with a tuck that carried a 2.8 degree of difficulty, DeWire netted a score of 19.5, raising his total to 404.95, which surpassed the Tamaqua boys record of 402.45 previously set by Dan MacDonald in 2001.
DeWire followed that with a reverse somersault with a pike (1.7 degree of difficulty) that garnered him scores ranging from 9 to 7.5. His 25.50 net score pushed his total to 448.30, breaking the Schuylkill League record of 413.20 that had been held by Pottsville's Ryan Feeney, as well as the Tamaqua school record of 431.35, which was set by Amanda Sandlin, a PIAA State diving medalist, in 2007.
"Coach puts my worst dives at the beginning of the meet, the ones that I worry about, to get them out of the way early," mentioned DeWire. "That way, if I don't do well on them, I have the rest of the meet to make up for it or go from that if I do well
"I'm going to try and keep the better ones at the end of the meet, so if it comes down to the wire, I can pull those last dives out. They are fairly simple. I don't want anything too hard at the end, but you don't want anything too easy that won't get you the right amount of points."
While pleased with the records, DeWire said winning his fourth league title meant a lot to him as well.
As a freshman, I only won by a few points, and the year after, I failed a dive and came close to getting second," recalled DeWire. "Because of those first two years, it makes it more special that I got it this year, too."
In the girls competition, Holland, who placed second to Tamaqua's Katie Hummel a year ago, led from start to finish in claiming the gold.
The real race among the girls was for second place, and Schuylkill Haven's Caitlin McGarry edged Tamaqua's Alaina Reese for the silver, 279.35 to 267.95.
DeWire will now prepare for the District 11 championships, where he will be seeking his first crown and a berth in the PIAA Meet
"These are the dives I will be doing at Districts and possibly at States, so I am not going to change them from here on out," DeWIire stressed. "Those are the 11 dives I need to practice so when the time comes, I can do as good as I did today or surpass it."
The Schuylkill League swimming championships will be held today at Pottsville.
Schuylkill League Diving Championships
at Tamaqua Area High School
Boys Results - 1. Dane DeWire (Tamaqua) 494.50 (new school and league record), 2. Jackson Fleagle (Schuylkill Haven) 285.05.
Girls Results - 1. Kelsey Holland (Pottsville) 341.75, 2. Cailtin McGarry (Schuylkill Haven) 279.35, 3. Alaina Reese (Tamaqua) 267.95, 4. Katie Courtney (Pottsville) 263.15, 5. Margo Rennick (Pottsville) 203.80, 6. Elyssa Bender (Blue Mountain) 189.25, 7. Samantha Boyer (Schuylkill Haven) 50.35.