Girard’s Teter dives into state meet

YOUNGSTOWN – Girard High School freshman Savannah Teter started diving more than a year ago.

Now, she finds herself in the middle of the state swimming and diving meet at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. It starts Wednesday at 9 a.m.

The trip to Canton was thanks to her final dive during last Wednesday’s Division II district at Cleveland State University. She scored 329.40.

“I did my last dive,” said Teter, who got the sixth and final qualifying spot. “I got off the board and I was like, ‘All right, I’m in a good place.’ I was in fourth before. I don’t know if I went down a place or up a place. I had mixed feelings.

“I went over to (diving coach) Ron (Navarra) and he said, ‘It’s coming close.’ I said, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t be celebrating too early?’ He came over and he said, ‘You made it.’ I said, ‘Yes. Yeah, I made it.'”

Teter spent eight years as a gymnast, which helped her make the transition to diving.

“If I didn’t have a gymnastics background, I probably wouldn’t be too good at diving,” Teter said.

“She came in with a real good base of skills,” said Navarra, who has spent the last eight years coaching area divers through Youngstown Area Diving Academy at Beeghly Natatorium on the Youngstown State University campus. “She just took it from there. She had a pretty good talent level.”

Navarra also coaches divers from Poland, Canfield and Boardman.

“There’s not a lot of coaches around,” Navarra said. “This is the same throughout the state. A lot of kids go to a club where they’re all coached together. Then, they go to their schools. It’s like that all over the place.”

As for Teter’s approach to her dives, she’s realistic.

“If I do my front dive, I always think about my hurdle (approach, momentum before each dive),” she said. “I want it to be perfect, but it’s not going to end up being perfect. I have to do my best as soon as I go for the dive. If I’m doing a back dive, I try to go up. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen.”

Teter is ranked 17th out of the 24 Division II divers at state.

“I think I’m ready,” Teter said. “I have to learn how to get my mind ready to do it. I wasn’t set to compete yesterday at districts. Since I know where I am, I’m pretty confident in myself. I have to keep that confidence going.”

However, the confidence kind of wavers when she’s waiting for her score. There are seven judges that score each diving. The top two and bottom two scores are eliminated. The middle three scores are then taken to score each dive.

“I try to ignore it,” Teter said. “I don’t want to listen to my score. I always go underwater before I say it. I don’t know how I do until I see the results of it.”