Raiders' DeWire hits 1,000 points
JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua senior Dane DeWire (left) is congratulated by Blue Raiders coach Eric Lech after DeWire earned the 1,000th point of his swimming and diving career.
Dane DeWire's accomplishments as a diver are worthy of recognition.
On Feb. 11, Tamaqua Area High School senior captured his fourth Schuylkill League diving championship, breaking pool, school and league records in the process.
DeWire's talents extend beyond the diving board and into the pool. He reached another milestone this month, earning his 1,000th career point in the Blue Raiders' victory over Saucon Valley on Feb. 9.
By hitting the 1,000 point mark, DeWire put himself into another select circle, one that also includes his brother, Raymond, a former Tamaqua swimmer who went on to compete collegiately at Niagara University.
"It feels pretty great," said DeWire. "I wasn't expecting it coming into the season. I just wanted to try my best. I am really happy to get it. I didn't expect to get this when I was a freshman coming up. I thought it was impossible to reach."
"That was a big accomplishment. My brother got it when he was a senior and my goal was to get as good as he was. He wasn't a diver, so it was hard to tell if I reaching him, but when I got the 1,000th point, I felt I was at the same caliber that he was."
Since swimmers can compete in only four events per meet, attaining 1,000 points is no easy task.
In DeWire's case, his ability as a swimmer was a valuable asset to the Raiders, who won Schuylkill League boys titles in his freshman and junior years (2007-08 and 2009-2010).
"The interesting thing is, there have been years, but not this year, when I wouldn't dive him because I needed to get some points in the pool, because we had divers who I know could win that event who weren't as good as Dane," noted Tamaqua coach Eric Lech. "So for him to be scoring that many points, he did a lot of it in the swimming pool.
"This year, we were fortunate to let him dive every chance we got, and of course it worked out we got six points every time. That helps, but to take away from diving time to earn those points in the pool is huge."
Since diving is a precision event, giving up practice time that could be used to perfect dives is no small sacrifice.
"He had to take time away from his diving in practice to work in the pool," said Lech. "He definitely earned his 1,000 points, He's in a club with a lot of other great swimmers, including his brother. He's definitely in good company."
DeWire is now setting his sights on the District 11 championships. The diving competition will be held on Saturday at Parkland High School, while the D-11 swim meet will be held next weekend at Emmaus High School.
DeWire plans to use the same 11-dive program that he used during his record-setting performance at the Schuylkill championships.
"These are his 11," said Lech. "We are not going to make any major changes there, just maybe the order we put them in.
"At practice, he'll come in and pick a dive, and he'll do it 10-12 times, and we'll pick it apart so he had it where he wants it. There are a lot of things to do to keep his mental status confident."
DeWire is pleased with the progress his diving has made this season.
"I scored a 375 at the Bucknell Invitational and came back with a 494 (at leagues), so that was a 120 point increase from the beginning of the season," related DeWire. "It was nice to see myself getting better."
DeWire is seeking his first District diving title, as well as a berth at the PIAA State Championships at Bucknell University.
"He would definitely be considered a favorite in Class AA this year," mentioned Lech. "The top two divers from last year both graduated. We saw a boy from Allentown Central Catholic (Nick Crouse) at beginning of the season who looked very strong, and Dane beat him by about 40 points.
"Dane's feeling very comfortable, but you can't overlook any possibility that there's an independent diver out there. You can't focus on the other divers, you have to go out there and make your dive the best."
If DeWire qualifies for States, he would look to join Amanda Sandlin, an eighth place medalist, as Tamaqua divers who have earned PIAA hardware.
"It (a state medal) is a very realistic goal for him this year," stated Lech.
On the swimming side, DeWire said plans to compete in the 200 yard medley relay, 200 yard freestyle relay and 100 yard backstroke at the District meet.