Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Faerber, Powell headline all-star diving meet

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Rising Churchill High freshman Timothy Faerber has jumped off diving boards across the world. He finished 2007 the No. 3-ranked Boys 14-15-year-old diver in the country, according to USA Diving and finished fourth on the 1-meter while representing the United States at the British Junior Elite National Championships in Leeds, England in May.

But just as gratifying to him as those results, albeit in a different regard, was his Montgomery County Dive League record-setting performance en route to winning the Boys 13-14 event at the MCDL All-Star Meet last Wednesday and Thursday at East Gate and Flower Valley swim clubs.

Faerber, whose first-ever dive at age 3 was off the East Gate springboard, snapped a nine-year MCDL Boys 13-14 record held by former Walter Johnson diver Kenny Jenkins, who just wrapped up a successful four-year diving career at the University of Southern California. And it was Faerber’s first-ever MCDL All-Star title.

‘‘[MCDL] is not the same as the big meets I compete in, it’s a more fun and friendly environment,” Faerber said. ‘‘But it’s fun and I like to do it. This is the pool I’ve been at since I first started. It’s nice to keep coming back. And it was a big deal for me to break that record. I’ve looked up to Kenny Jenkins for years.”

Last week’s meet featured the league’s top divers in each age category. Divers qualified by achieving set point standards throughout the season. Rising Paint Branch senior diver Logan Shinholser (Calverton) set an MCDL Boys 15-18 record in winning his first MCDL All-Star meet. Rising Magruder senior and defending county and Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Diving Championships champion Brittany Powell came up just short of the Girls 15-18 record, but clinched her second MCDL All-Star title Thursday — she won the Girls 13-14 title when she was 14.

‘‘Last year’s meet was a real disappointment,” Powell said. ‘‘I really screwed up one of my dives and I lost by a couple of points. It was nice to go back and win this time.”

MCDL is where Faerber and Powell got their starts. The majority of MCDL participants only compete during the summer season for fun. But Faerber, Shinholser and Powell are good examples of what happens when you stick with something and put in the effort. And they relish in the opportunity to work with their younger teammates and encourage them to pursue the sport.

‘‘You can go far in diving,” Powell said. ‘‘If you’re doing well, you can get out there and travel and compete. I think having some of the bigger divers from this area competing at All-Stars was a big motivator. It shows kids that diving isn’t a joke and that it takes work. There was this one girl on our team who started training year-round this year for the first time and it was amazing how much she improved.”

Faerber and Powell are both set to compete at U.S. Junior Nationals in Texas Aug. 6-10. It will be Faerber’s third junior national meet and Powell’s first. The top-four finishers at junior nationals earn a spot at the 2008 Junior World Championships in Germany beginning Sept. 16.

‘‘I’m not necessarily expecting to go to Worlds,” Faerber said. ‘‘But if I do really well, it’s possible. And that would be extremely exciting.”

Notes: Laila Tabatabai (East Gate, Girls 8-under), Sam Kressman (RE, Boys 8-under), Elaina Faerber (East Gate, Girls 9-10), Casey Doherty (Rock Creek, Boys 9-10), Kali Becker (East Gate, Girls 11-12), Simon Carne (Seven Locks, Boys 11-12) and Annie Kastler (Old Georgetown, Girls 13-14) all finished first in their respective events at MCDL All-Stars.