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Athlete Spotlight for Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

Posted: February 19, 2014 - 1:10am
Photo by Jim Blaylock  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock

Twitter @ScottRouch

A chain of events led Evans High School’s Dillon Keeler into diving and he saved his best for last.

The senior took seventh in the 1 meter dive at the Georgia High School Association State Swimming and Diving Meet, February 8, then was a part of two top-10 relay teams as the Knights finished eighth in the state. This on top of Keeler tying for first in the 1 meter at the CSRA Championship, placing second in the 100 yard breastroke and named the CSRA Male Athlete of the Year in the process.

“I knew that I could do it,” said Keeler, who also competed in the 100 breast at the state meet, of his diving finish.

“I knew that it was within my abilities. My goal was top 8 and I got it. I was happy about it.”

Knowing it was his last go-round helped push him.

“I think it was just me realizing that this is going to be my last time competing in diving,” Keeler said. “It just made we want to go out strong and do my absolute best.”

A baseball player, who will be a shortstop/second baseman for the Knights in the spring season, Keeler got into swimming because of a bad left hip.

“When I was 8, the doctor diagnosed me with Perthes Disease,” said Keeler. “The best thing for it was to swim and that’s how I got into swimming. That led me into diving.”

Evans’ head coach Tiffanie Douglas was just happy that Keeler was a part of her team.

“In addition to being a great swimmer and diver, Dillon is an incredible team leader,” said Douglas...”Dillon has a positive attitude and is willing to do whatever is necessary to help out the team in and out of the water.”

It was the all-for-one attitude that led Keeler to diving in the first place.

“Freshman year all I did was swim, and then we realized we were not gaining as many points as we could as a team,” he said.

“So, sophomore year my coach asked the team if anyone thought that they could dive and I said I’d try it out and it turned out I was pretty good at it.”

Already accepted to the University of Georgia and thinking about their engineering program, Keeler got some practical experience toward that end as part of his senior project.

“I installed a French drain on the baseball field for Coach Beale,” Keeler said.

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