Doves' Stewart likes being difficult

March 03, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Jenny Stewart can tell you whatever you want to know about a dive, no matter how difficult it may be.

That's because during seven years of year-round training with the Johns Hopkins Diving Club, as well as summers with the Padonia Club, the Western senior has developed an intricate knowledge of her sport.

"She's got a very good list of difficult dives," said Western coach Judy McGowan, whose favorite is Stewart's one-and-a-half, free-position with a full twist.

Stewart explains the maneuver, which at one point has her resembling a human screwdriver before emerging into a head-first dive.

"You just jump up and do a somersault and a half," Stewart said. "Then it's all in your arms as you wrap them around your body and you come out of it into a dive."

Then, she says, imagine the reverse with an extra twist thrown in for difficulty, -- and you have Stewart's favorite dive, the back, one-and-a-half, one-and-a-half.

The powerfully built Stewart (5 feet 8, 150 pounds) can executewith near-perfection the inwards dive, where she stands upright but faces backward on the board, pushes off, and dives straight forward and down. Or the reverse, where she dives backward and down.

There also is Stewart's one-and-a-half pike, which, Stewart, unlike many other girls, does with her legs extended for the most part.

"Most girls tuck their legs under because it's very difficult otherwise to get around," McGowan said. Stewart said she doesn't tuck because with all of her power, "if I tuck, I'd spin too fast and keep going over."

Whether doing a two-and-a-half somersault -- essentially a double-somersault and a dive -- or a simpler maneuver, Stewart, 17, rarely has sought the easy way. She'd much rather secure more points by choosing more difficult dives.

The strategy has worked for her during her four years at Western, where she has gone undefeated in over 30 competitions against city opponents -- including 8-0 this season.

She also swims the 50-meter freestyle portion of the Doves' championship medley relay team and the second leg of the Doves' championship 200-meter relay.

Competing on an exhibition basis in last week's Maryland Scholastic Association meet, Stewart scored 414.21 points -- 21.75 point higher than A Conference boys champ, Jon Repetti (Calvert Hall), who is a member of Stewart's club team at Hopkins under coach Kim Stein.

"I've been coaching her since she was 10, and she's an accomplished diver," said Stein. "She's very powerful, and I think with the feathers she's got in her cap, she's got her feet grounded for an exciting future."

With a minimum score of 375 being worthy of consideration for All-American status, McGowan is submitting an application for Stewart to the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. Only the nation's top 30 divers will be honored, with the next 15 being honorable mentions. McGowan expects an answer sometime in late May, but Stewart won't rest on her laurels in anticipation.

Having attracted interest from Michigan and Virginia universities, Stewart will continue to work hard both in school, where she has a 3.0 average with an 1,100 Scholastic Assessment Test score, and in the pool, where as a member of Hopkins' diving club, she'll travel to competitions nationwide throughout the year.

"I try not to get messed up with what any other diver is doing," said Stewart. "I think I'm worth All-America status, but as long as I continue to do what I'm capable of, I think I'll eventually earn it."

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