BY TOM WORGO
Although standout divers excel with breathtaking form and grace in the air, they often don't look nearly as good swimming to the pool ladder.
"They are happy they don't drown between the diving board and the side of the pool," Padonia Park diving Coach Katryn Valladres said. "It's not common for good divers to be good swimmers."
Padonia Park Swim Club's Michael Brown is an exception. He's a championship diver and swimmer.
In swimming, Brown shined at the Straehle Invitational Swim Meet last month, winning the 100-meter individual medley and the 50 breast stroke while placing second in the 50 butterfly in his age group.
Brown, a year-round swimmer who lives in Timonium, joined three others to place first in the 200 free relay.
The 13-year-old Brown also excelled in March against tougher competition at the YMCA Southeast Region championship meet in South Carolina.
Representing the Towson YMCA, he posted top -10 finishes in seven individual events in which he competed against athletes from five states.
Yet the sport dearest to his heart is diving, where he is making quite a splash.
He won the 11-12 division (156.70) of the Central Maryland Diving League (CMDL) championships in late July at the Waugh Chapel Swim Club in Gambrills.
During the regular season, Brown, also a standout water polo player, set a league record for highest score (152) in his age bracket.
Postseason success is nothing new to Brown. He's won the CMDL championship meet four times and placed second three times during the past seven years.
"I definitely think he is college scholarship material," Valladres said. "He always has unbelievable form."
It is his near perfect form in the front pike dive that led Brown to a win at the 2005 CMDL championship.
"He had one dive where I never saw anybody in three years do better," said Valladres explaining what contributed to Brown's title.
Brown's friend, Caroline Goode of Lutherville, won a diving title in the 11-12 girls division.
Her feat was more impressive considering the 12-year-old Goode didn't start diving competitively until five weeks before the meet.
Goode's eight years as a top-level gymnast helped make the transition to diving a natural one, according to Dulaney diving Coach Maureen Mead.
"She has great body control and awareness," Mead said. "That transfers to diving."
Goode first got a taste of diving in 2001 when she spent a couple of weeks participating in a summer program at Towson University. She was unable to continue with the sport after that because of her demanding gymnastics schedule.
Then Goode gave up gymnastics in April to spend more time with friends and family.
Now, she's found a new love by returning to diving.
"It's an incredible sport," she said.
Four other Dulaney divers posted top-five finishes, including Sydney Kligys (2nd, 9-10), Mary Catherine Morekas (3rd, 9-10), Grace Parrish (5th, 11-12) and Molly Crawford (5th, 13-14). Hannah Gouger (Under-8), Kevin Nickel (9-10), Clay Duncan (11-12), Sam Morekas (11-12), Andy Gough (13-14) and Stephen Diglio (15-18) received honorable mention.
For Padonia Park, Elizabeth Gleeson (under-8), Amity Jackson (under-8), Jessie Lynch (under-8), Kaity Lynch (under-8), Carly Rizzuto (under-8), Clay Cox (under-8), Shane Kilberg (under-8), Emma Tizard (9-10), Kyle Sieglein (11-12), Jessica Brown (13-14) and Sarah Cauley (13-14) earned honor mention listings.