End of July means it's time for the City Dive Meet.
Director Shawn Sollenberger said he thinks Blackhawk has a strong chance to win the meet for a third consecutive year.
“Blackhawk is very strong again; they have high numbers and they're pretty consistently big in all ages,” Sollenberger said.
The successful summer dive season comes to an end this weekend with competition today and Saturday at the Helen P. Brown Natatorium.
Seven clubs are set to compete (Blackhawk, Arlington Park, Fort Wayne Country Club, Glenaqua, Orchard Ridge, Pocahontas and Sycamore) and about 185 kids – up 10 to 15 from last year according to Sollenberger.
Sollenberger credits the rise in numbers partially to the fact that age groups have been shifted so that divers can do both boards on the same day.
Five divers participating in the meet will also be heading to the USA Diving Junior Nationals from July 30 to Aug. 5 in Knoxville, Tennesse: Mallory Walker (15-and-over), Josh Sollenberger (13-14), Luke Sollenberger (9-10), Amelia Rhinehart (11-12) and Elle Hollingsworth (9-10).
The five qualified at the regional meet at Eastern Michigan University in June, finishing in the top 10 of their age groups.
Fort Wayne has consistently sent divers to nationals for years and Sollenberger credits Jill Eakright, Homestead diving coach and club head coach for the Indiana International school of Diving.
“She has brought to Fort Wayne just a fantastic system that has created really talented divers,” Sollenberger said. “The kids thrive and compete very well at the regional and national events and consistently competitive.
“She's created a system in the statewide club – but she's led that Fort Wayne side of things for many years. It's exciting as a parent of divers to see their development through her system.”
Sollenberger said one diver in particular to watch is Rhinehart.
“She's come a long way,” he said. “She has a gymnastics background and converted to diving just a couple years ago and has really done very well.”
Sollenberger said while Blackhawk might run away with the title again, the level of competition should be very high all across the board.
“I think the quality of diving all the way from very young, beginner, all the way through the national and internationally experienced kids is going to be very good,” Sollenberger said.