Deborah Daly was overjoyed enough that she had won the diving competition at the North Sectional swimming and diving championship.
But, out of curiosity, Daly decided to make her way to the scoring board to see her official results.
"I saw that I had scored a 490," she said. "Then I remembered I had looked at the school record just that morning and it was 481. I ran over to my diving coach (Becky Pierce) and said, 'I think I just broke the school record!' It was amazing."
Next up for Daly and the Andover High swim and dive team is the pursuit of yet another state title.
The most dominating team in Andover High history will go for its 13th Division 1 state title in 14 years on Saturday at MIT.
"This girl is amazing," said Golden Warriors coach Marilyn Fitzgerald. "She is so dedicated. We have had some tremendous divers over the years, but I don't know if we have ever had one as focused as Deborah."
Daly, a junior, could feel the excitement even before the meet.
"I couldn't sit still all day," she said. "I probably should have been doing homework so I was productive, but I was just pacing around the house. I just couldn't wait for the meet. I have been working so hard all season so I had the variety of dives. But going into the meet I thought I'd probably finish second."
Daly not only won her first North Sectional title — after taking second each of the last two seasons — but her 490 broke the Andover High record of 481.10 set in 2007 by current Penn State diver and two-time Division 1 state champ Katie O'Connell.
"I used to practice with Katie in club diving," said Daly. "There have been so many amazing swimmers and divers for Andover over the years. To be recognized as one of them means so much to me. It's unreal."
Fitzgerald was far less shocked to see Daly, her top diver for three seasons, take the record.
"She is never satisfied and that is what separates her," said Fitzgerald. "She can score a 10 on a dive and still think it's not good enough. And she has scored her share of 10s. She is a smart, dedicated young lady."
Daly, a member of the National Honor Society in the top 10 percent of her class, agreed her dedication is a key to her success.
"I've been told by many, many people that I'm a perfectionist," she said with a laugh. "I know, even when I get a great score I could have jumped a little higher or entered the water a little cleaner. I'll be satisfied when I have done it better than I ever thought I could have."
Daly now has her eyes set on the school dual meet diving record set by Caroline Crocker in 1999. But, for the moment, she is far more concerned with Division 1 States on Sunday.
"My goal has always been to win States," she said. "It would mean so much to win again as a team, and knowing I contributed to the team's win would be so special."
• • •
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to andovertownsman.com.