Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

February 7, 2013

A beginner just three years ago, Blake now among state's elite divers

A beginner just three years ago, Blake now among state's elite divers

(Continued)

He followed that up with a tremendous season with Infinite, advancing all the way to the 2012 AAU Diving National Championships in Huntsville, N.C., where he placed 11th in the three-meter dive (high school does just 1-meter). That after taking fourth at the New England competition.

During this high school dual meet season, Blake finished with eight victories, leading the Golden Warriors to a 9-0 regular season, followed by his second at MVCs.

He has also taken on the role of de facto coach for the team’s other two divers, helping teammate Jack Belluche to a fourth at MVCs.

“Our coach is a volunteer, and I am at the point now where I can coach diving,” he said. “I want to lead them and get the best out of them. I teach them every day, and when our coach is there it’s even better.”

Blake now plans to continue his diving career at Division 3 power St. Lawrence University (N.Y.), where he was accepted on Monday and had strongly pursued him as a diver. He had also considered diving at schools such as UMass Amherst, Seton Hall and Loyola Maryland.

“There is nothing like diving,” he said. “You know when you take off if you can spin it. When you are spinning you are thinking about the entry, and when you nail the entry it’s an amazing feeling.”

Zhao Wows

No one has been more dominant for the unbeaten Golden Warrior swimmers this winter than senior Eric Zhao. Unbeaten in the regular season, he dominated at MVCs on Friday, winning the 100 and 200 freestyle and swimming the anchor legs in the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Not bad for someone that only began swimming thanks to his parents.

“It was really something my parents wanted me to do when I was 7 or 8,” he said. “I liked it, and every time I would make a cut at the YMCA I was thrilled. My sophomore year was when I made my biggest jump, dropping like five seconds in a short period of time. Now I want to make my last to high school meets count.”

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