COLORADO SPRINGS | On a diving board in a place so familiar to him, Kyle Goodwin completed the massive goal he’d laid out for himself four years earlier.
In a fitting twist, the Class 5A boys state swim meet just happened to be contested in Colorado Springs at the Cadets Natatorium on the campus of the Air Force Academy, a place the Regis Jesuit senior star has trekked to twice a week for many years to train.
Diving as hungrily as Raiders dive coach Taylor Roberts had ever seen him, the University of Missouri signee set the Colorado state record of 611.85 points to top the 10-year-old mark of 608.20 of Arapahoe’s Aaron Feight.
“It feels like I’m on top of the world,” said a beaming Goodwin, who became the first male diver in Colorado prep history to win four state championships.
“I really wanted it and I knew I had to dive my best,” he added. “It feels like a lot of hard work has paid off.”
Roberts got emotional when talking about his star diver, who told him four years ago as a freshman that he planned on winning four state championships.
As a diver at Smoky Hill in his prep days, Roberts won a state championship in 2002 and set a 5A state meet record at that time. He knew the tall task Goodwin had if he wanted to do what he’d planned.
After watching Goodwin nail a final dive Roberts said made him more nervous than Goodwin, the coach couldn’t help but think back to where it all started.
“When he was a freshman, we sat down at one of the first practices and I asked him what his goal was for that season and moving forward and the first thing he said was ‘Win state all four years,’” Roberts recalled.
“I was working with a freshman and I was thinking ‘You’re good, but let’s taper those goals down a little.’ But holy cow, it’s been a crazy four years and I couldn’t be more proud of Kyle. As much as he’s a great diver, he’s a great kid and always represents himself well.”
With a winning score of 533.25 as a freshman, 525.05 as a sophomore and 559.25 last season, Goodwin wanted to go out with a bang this season. He knew he had stiff competition from Smoky Hill junior Devin Bellamy and Arapahoe’s Alan LeBlang along with some up-and-coming youngsters.
Goodwin racked up 443.95 points alone in prelims to take a 36-point edge into finals over Bellamy — who finished just eight points behind him at the Coaches Invitational earlier in the season — and rocked all three of his dives in finals to surpass Feight in the Colorado recordbooks.
“I always thought it was ridiculously high; just looking at it, it made me wonder how he (Feight) did it,” Goodwin said of the previous mark. “It feels great to get it.”
Roberts said Feight’s mark looked “untouchable” at the time it was set, but Goodwin’s consistency, plus a more generous scoring system that rewards aesthetics made it possible for him to set the mark.
“The difference in my generation versus now is that back then you had to do a whole lot right to get a good score,” Roberts said.
“Officials now are in the mindset of rewarding dives that get up well off the board and are aesthetically pleasing. Kyle’s aesthetics are unprecedented. I haven’t seen anybody really at the high school next to (Olympians) David Boudia, Thomas Finchem and guys on that next level. To have that in high school is amazing.”
Regis Jesuit head coach Nick Frasersmith keeps a close eye on swimming results during meets, but made sure to watch the diving competition anytime Goodwin was involved to see what heights he would reach.
“I love it when it comes to diving because it’s so much fun to watch Kyle,” Frasersmith said. “For him to come in and break a record that a lot of people thought was never going to be broken is great. Hopefully that record will stand for awhile.”
Goodwin’s state meet also caught the eye of Smoky Hill dive coach Erik Seaver, who was selected as the 5A Dive Coach of the Year.
“I told this to Kyle, but that’s the finest performance I’ve ever seen from him; he didn’t miss a thing,” Seaver said. “He’s a beautiful diver and he deserves what he got.”
Bellamy — who is on the same club team as Goodwin and trains at the Air Force pool every Thursday — also had a fantastic meet.
“It was probably the best meet I’ve had in a very long time,” said Bellamy, an Eaglecrest student who dives with the Smoky Hill team.
“I definitely surprised myself,” he added. “I’m going to try to improve my score and hope to get first next year.”
Cherokee Trail had a pair of placers with Eric Lammon in 6th and Tristan Nation in 11th, while Smoky Hill freshman Tim Domashevich took 15th.
Note: Beginning with Roberts’ state championship for Smoky Hill in 2002, divers from Aurora schools have now won nine of the past 5A diving titles. Roberts’ teammate Karo Isajan won in 2003, Regis Jesuit’s Sean More finished first in 2006 and 2007 — and then went on to win an NCAA championship at Ohio State — Smoky Hill’s Doogie Cohen took the 2008 title and Goodwin won in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2015 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE DIVING CHAMPIONSHIP
May 16 at U.S. Air Force Academy
1-meter diving: A Final — 1. KYLE GOODWIN (REGIS JESUIT), 611.85 points (Colorado and 5A state meet record, besting 608.20 of Aaron Feight in 2005); 2. DEVIN BELLAMY (SMOKY HILL), 583.55; 3. Alan LeBlang (Arapahoe), 562.85; 4. Octavio Lucero (Bear Creek), 542.90; 5. Caleb Ives (Arapahoe), 501.45; 6. ERIC LAMMON (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 501.25; 7. Duncan Lester (Fairview), 476.55; 8. Sean Zusi (Arapahoe), 472.10; 9. Noah Bettner (Lewis-Palmer), 460.85; 10. Collin O’Connor (Fountain-Fort Carson), 448.00; 11. TRISTAN NATION (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 440.70; 12. Kurt Seitzwinger (Fort Collins), 438.90; 13. Jack Nagle (Lewis-Palmer), 428.90; 14. Timothy Landau (Rocky Mountain), 412.00; 15. TIMOTHY DOMASHEVICH (SMOKY HILL), 401.50; 16. Connor May (Highlands Ranch), 400.25