Dive team makes big splash at Valley

In their last meet before the Southern California Swim and Dive Championship, two divers representing Pierce College competed against Valley College, Santa Monica City College and College of the Canyons on Saturday, March 22.

“It’s a small niche, they all come out of club diving or gymnastics,” said Josh Foster, the diving coach for Pierce.

All eleven divers competed on the low dive for the first round.

One diver,19-year-old Kevin Kichik, is in his first semester on the dive team and came out of gymnastics according to Foster.

Jovany Gonzalez, 19, started diving when he was in the ninth grade at Cleveland High School in Reseda, Calif.  This is his first semester diving for Pierce College.  His major is undecided, though he is leaning toward business. When he transfers, he wants to transfer to a UC with a good dive team.

“It’s pretty fun, but there is always room for improvement,” Gonzalez said.

Even though there may always be room for improvement, the two men made a comeback according to Foster.

“Jovany overcame the reverse 1 1/2 obstacle. He hit the (diving) board about two and a half weeks ago and it’s been a challenge for him to feel safe and confident to perform that dive,” Foster said.

Gonzalez performed his dive well and earned second place with 168.55 in the first round.  Kichik placed first with 206.5.

Peighton Hall, who was diving for COC,  placed first in the women’s division with 206.5 and Veronika Oleynik, who was diving for SMC, placed second with 117.6.

Oleynik is an accounting major at SMC. Like Gonzalez, she wants to transfer to a UC that has a good dive team.

“I didn’t think my dives were all that good. I’m usually best at somersaults and dives,” Oleynik said.

In the second round, only six divers competed in the high dive.

Luke Wesselhoff, who was diving for COC, placed first with 194.35. Kichik placed second with 185.3 and Gonzalez came in a close third with 184.25.

In the women’s round, Hall placed first again with 139.5, and Annie Gomez, who was diving for SMC placed second with 102.85.

“The divers competed their hardest on both boards today,” Foster said.

The championship will occur on the weekend of Aprill 11-12, 2014 and it will include colleges from Orange County, the Inland Empire, and the  Los Angeles Community College District. It will take Place at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif.