Greg Young remembers his first day as a diving coach seven weeks ago.
Meghan Zets made Grovetown High School's swimming and diving coach look like a genius.
The sophomore had never competed in the sport, let alone tried any type of competitive dive. But she did a perfect flip the first time she tried it, then pulled off a well-executed "one and a half" on her next attempt.
"A couple of the coaches were standing around and they said, 'Wow, that was really good. How long has she been diving?'" Young said.
"'Uh, first day,'" he deadpanned.
Zets and other Grovetown first-year divers Chel'sea Hargrove, a junior, and Rhiley Greene, a freshman, have taken to the sport like fish to water in a matter of weeks.
Zets has yet to lose a meet this season and has beat more experienced divers.
"It's a challenge, and I like challenges," she said. "I haven't lost yet. ... I got it the first time. It just came naturally to me."
When Young was seeking potential divers, he saw the type of tumbling moves Zets and Hargrove were doing as cheerleaders for the Warriors. Greene also has cheerleading experience. He figured the flipping and twisting would translate to the diving board. It turns out he was right.
"A lot of the things we do are similar," Hargrove said. "The flipping, the rotating, we do a lot of the same movements."
The divers also participate in swimming events, as the two sports are under one umbrella for team scoring purposes. The result, Young said, is a sense of camaraderie, as the swimmers will go to the diving area during their events to support them.
One problem Young ran into is that cheerleaders are taught to jump out horizontally, while diving is all about achieving as much height as possible. He used training methods to improve their height off the board.
Greene said she got discouraged at first because her two teammates were catching on a little more quickly. Her coach was quick to point out that, as a freshman, she has the most time to improve.
"That's what I think about," Greene said. "Sometimes, I get frustrated. I told coach Young, 'I might want to go back to swimming because I'm not getting anywhere with this.'
"But I am only a ninth-grader, and I have a lot of time to get better."
Young said Greene's perseverance and competitiveness have helped her narrow the gap between herself and her teammates.
All three Warriors divers have taken their lumps.
"They'll have bruises all over from landing wrong," Young said. "But they get right back up there."
The three say they have enjoyed learning the sport together.
"We all support each other and keep each other going," Hargrove said. "Starting out doing this, I never would have imagined I'd be doing what I'm doing now.
"And I still have so much to learn."
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