It’s easy to make the case that Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School junior diver Jack Crow is really good. Just don’t expect him to accept it.
By setting three new school records for total points earned in four-, six- and 11-round dive meets this season, Crow has established himself as arguably the best diver to come through the Barons’ program. But this year’s Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving runner-up — the highest public school finisher by a good margin — isn’t so quick to accept that moniker.
“It’s been very cool to put my mark [on the B-CC program],” Crow said. “But one thing I’ve noticed is I never feel like I’ll be as good as the people I looked up to and idolized growing up. Like, even though I have school records that [2013 B-CC graduate] Parker Rigaux doesn’t have, I don’t feel like I passed him because I grew up watching him.”
That attitude seems to be working out in Crow’s favor. Having mentors such as Rigaux have pushed Crow, whose strength is the height he can create off the board, he said. In his best high school season yet, the Barons’ current top diver followed up his second consecutive top 3 Metros finish with Saturday’s first Class 4A/3A West Region title. With scores well above the rest of the field, Crow appears poised to clinch his first high school championship in Friday’s state diving finals.
“Jack is the type of kid that it doesn’t take too much to get him motivated,” Barons swim and dive coach Jason Blanken said. “He has a really positive attitude. I know the other divers on the team really respect him a lot, he really leads by example the way he goes out and performs to the best of his ability no matter what the competition is. He’s just very focused and very self-motivated, he’s always trying to do a little bit bigger, a little bit better and that’s the best kind of attitude to have.”
When Crow’s name popped up in the top 3 of last winter’s Metros diving competition, many people outside of Montgomery County’s close-knit diving community might have wondered where it came from. B-CC’s then sophomore said he even surprised himself with how far he’d come in one year’s time; just a few months earlier he was returning to the diving board following a long hiatus that could have really stunted his development.
On Christmas in 2011, Crow broke his left arm in a snowboarding accident while on vacation in Park City, Utah. The injury kept him out of diving completely for four months — he said he was instructed to remain cautious for an additional two months once he was cleared to get back on the diving board — and the majority of his freshman season.
But Crow, who said the time away from the sport gave him a new perspective and appreciation for it, is not the type of person to back away from a challenge, Blanken said. So, when the current junior returned to the springboards in the summer of 2012, he set his mind on a speedy return to form. He was quite close by the November start of high school season last winter and seemingly all the way back by February 2013, when he finished third at Metros and the season-ending state meet. Only 2013 Metros champion and former Paint Branch standout TJ Shinholser and Rigaux were ahead of him at the latter.
“In the summer it was great because I could go to my summer pool and practice by myself and get a double dose of practicing in,” Crow said. “When I realized I was going to place in the top three at states last year it was a huge eye opener, I didn’t think I was going to be able to compete [that well].”
As an upperclassmen and B-CC’s highest scoring diver, Crow, who is also one of the Barons’ top sprint freestylers, has stepped into a more prominent leadership role this year, Blanken said. The program has boasted some of the county’s best divers in the past and Crow said it’s important that he help carry on the tradition.
“It’s the weirdest thing, because I grew up with people like Parker who were older than me and I looked up to them, but now that they’re gone, I’ve realized now it’s me,” Crow said. “It’s important for me to be a good role model. I definitely try to get everyone involved, I don’t like how some places can have a separated environment between the older and younger kids. ... It’s very cool to get to participate and be one of the better divers at our school.”