BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Rochester junior Kadin Kelly lives by the lake.
There is a tire that hangs over the lake, and he’s always liked jumping off the tire and into the water.
The career of a record-setting high school diver was born.
Kelly broke the Zebra school record with 235.55 points over a six-dive program during an 86-82 loss to Tippecanoe Valley at the Rochester Middle School pool Tuesday.
Secrest held the previous record of 234.65 back in 2004.
The irony is that Secrest had a role in Kelly breaking his record. Coach Karmin Reeves, who also coached Secrest, brought in Secrest during winter break to help Kelly and fellow divers Braxton Jimenez and Bradly Bickle.
Secrest taught Kelly a front two-and-a-half somersault and an inward two-and-a-half dive from the pike position.
“He came in and helped us out quite a bit over break,” Kelly said. “He’s super nice. He helped me a lot on all my dives. … He helped me improve with my twisting and my form in general. And he taught me a couple new dives too.”
Kelly got at least one score of 7 on three different dives on Tuesday.
“My inward one-and-a-half pike and my reverse double,” Kelly answered when asked of what dives he was most proud. “My back double too. … Those were the dives I had worked the hardest on to do the best.”
Kelly, who qualified for diving regionals each of the last two years, has increased his degree of difficulty this year.
“Over winter break, we had two-a-days with the coaches, and they worked us really hard,” Kelly said. “We all improved a lot.”
Kelly has been diving competitively since he was a freshman. Bickle and he were jumping off a trampoline at his home, and Bickle suggested he give diving a try.
“It was fun,” Kelly said of his first experiences. “It was easier to do flips than on the trampoline.”
There was also the matter of the tire.
“I live on the river, so in the summer, we do flips out of the tree and stuff,” Kelly said. “We have a rope swing, just playing.”
Kelly said breaking Secrest’s record was always a goal. But he said breaking Secrest’s record Tuesday was not part of his projected timeline.
“It was one of my goals, but I didn’t think I’d get until senior year,” Kelly said.
Kelly will compete with Jimenez, Bickle and Vincenzo Rooker, a state qualifier from Maconaquah, at the Jan. 23 Three Rivers Conference meet at Maconaquah. Culver Academy’s Reid Omilian and Wabash’s Zack Reed also figure to be top competitors at the Warsaw sectional on Feb. 20.
“I want to make regionals again, and I'd also like to improve my score again hopefully,” Kelly said.