Larry Stonebreaker had too much on his mind to pull off a winning dive Thursday night.
On the first of his three dives, the Aberdeen senior tried a back somersault in a straight position. He didn't rotate enough, clipped his toes on the board and drew low scores. That wasn't the worst part -- he also broke his toe.
"I tried to go up and I didn't get over. I was concentrating toomuch on height."
Aberdeen diving coach Don White said Stonebreaker's difficulties began when he turned in a poor time in a swimming race right before the diving began.
"I could see it coming," said White. "Larry didn't do well in his race, and it affected his diving.He wasn't able to shake it off. It affected his concentration."
The broken little toe gave Stonebreaker trouble through the remainingtwo dives. "When you're doing your approach, you're on your toes. Itdistracts you when you're going up and you feel the pain. It got me down," said Stonebreaker, whose brother Gary won the county diving title two years ago.
Stonebreaker, who was third in the county lastyear, finished third Thursday night with 59.1 points behind Bel Air's Dave Moxely, 86.7, and Aberdeen's William White, 59.6, at a tri-meet at Edgewood Middle School.
Moxely, a senior, drew the highest scores of the meet for his final dive, a forward one-and-a-half in thepike position. He got a 6.5, 6, and 5.5 from the three judges, who rated the dives on a scale of 1 through 10. Scores are then calculatedbased on the degree of difficulty of each dive.
In girls competition, Aberdeen's Stacie Edie also earned high scores in her win. Edie earned 82.6 points, her best performance of the season. Bel Air's Teri Fox was second with 73.45 followed by three first-year divers, Aberdeen's Sara Cornelison (68.45) and Joppatowne's Jennifer Bohon (40.9)and Laura Hadrys (36.9).
The Aberdeen divers have already made the difference in a couple of meets. Stonebreaker and Edie, who shouldcontend for county titles on Feb. 8, won their last two competitions. Cornelison and White also finished in the top three to help the Eagles defeat Edgewood on Jan. 3 and 10.
When Aberdeen defeated Edgewood on Jan. 3, 236-221, the diving points made the difference. That was the first time Aberdeen had ever beaten Edgewood in a swim meet. A week later, the Eagles won again, 254-247.
Against Bel Air, however, the diving points weren't enough to help the Eagles to victory as the Bobcats took the meet 306-191. Joppatowne was third with 128.
While many of the top swimmers spend much of the year in the pool, all of these divers spend just a few months on the board.
"It was just something to tide me over from soccer to lacrosse," said Edie, a senior who has been diving since her freshman year. "It's a challenge. You have to push yourself more and more. You kind of live on the edge, because you can hurt yourself if you do something wrong, but you can do real well if you do everything right."
Concentration is thekey to diving, said coach Don White, a former high school diver in Tennessee. "You can't listen (to the crowd). You have to turn everything off and really concentrate on your diving. That's what puts you over the top."
The coach's son William White said he goes over the dive in his mind every time he steps up on the board. "I just concentrate on getting the dive right. I block as much out as I can."