Village News Reporter
Fallbrook High School graduate and current Palomar College diver Donovan Taylor won the California Community College Athletic Association state three-meter diving championship.
Taylor also won the one-meter diving title at the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship meet. He was second on the three-meter board at the PCAC meet and second on the one-meter board at the state meet.
Palomar College does not have diving boards. “We have to practice at a club,” Taylor said.
The Alga Norte Aquatic Center in Carlsbad has diving boards, including a three-meter board, so Palomar practiced with the Dive San Diego club at Alga Norte.
El Camino College is in Torrance and is in the South Coast Conference, but the diving facilities there caused that school to be the site of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference diving championship meet April 22-23 (the swim events were held at Southwestern College in Chula Vista). Taylor had a score of 210.30 points on his six dives to win the one-meter men’s diving.
“On one meter I had a pretty good performance,” Taylor said. “Everything went very well.”
Ty Hunt, who dove for Steele Canyon High School before competing for Mesa College, was second with 203.30 points. “It could have gone either way,” Taylor said of the seven-point margin between him and Hunt.
Taylor believes that his twist dive gave him the advantage. “I know that my twister dive was basically my best dive,” he said.
Jacob Nelson, who is now at Grossmont College and competed against Taylor in Valley League meets when Nelson was at Ramona High School, had the third-place score of 172.35 points. Nelson won the 2019 Valley League championship as a junior while Taylor was third that year. No league meet was held in 2020 due to the coronavirus shutdown. Taylor did not dive as a freshman in 2018, when Nelson was third at the league diving championship meet and Fallbrook senior Joseph Greenwood placed first. Taylor was fourth in the 2021 Valley League meet and concluded his senior year by placing sixth among Division I boys at the CIF meet.
Nelson won the three-meter competition at the PCAC meet with 203.00 points. “He had a great meet,” Taylor said.
Taylor had 168.55 points for second and Hunt was third with 168.25 points. “On three-meter at the beginning it was looking pretty rough,” Taylor said.
He was in 11th place after his first four dives. “My last two dives brought me from 11th to second place,” Taylor said.
His score on his final dive was enough for Taylor to finish 0.30 points ahead of Hunt. “It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Taylor said. “I was pretty happy to get second.”
Taylor had no experience with a three-meter board prior to joining the Palomar College team. “At first it was a little bit scary, but I have some experience in jumping off,” he said.
Diving from three meters was compounded by competitive dives. “I was still a little nervous jumping off,” Taylor said.
He gained experience during the season. “Towards the end and closer to state I started to become more comfortable,” Taylor said.
The state meet took place May 7 at East Los Angeles College. On the three-meter board, Taylor’s winning score was 193.25 points. “Most of my dives went pretty well,” he said.
That includes his inward 2 1/2-somersault tuck dive. “I somehow nailed my inward 2 1/2 for 55 points, which is a lot of points,” Taylor said.
Seven judges scored each dive. The two highest scores and the two lowest scores were discarded, and the middle three scores were added and multiplied by the dive’s degree of difficulty to determine the total number of points for each dive.
“It was really cool to win. More than anything it was relieving because I went into the competition knowing that I could win. I really wanted to make that happen,” Taylor said.
Brian Bedford of American River College had the second-place score of 172.43 points. Hunt placed fifth with 162.25 points and Nelson was ninth after totaling 138.00 points.
Hunt won the one-meter board state competition with 230.45 points. Taylor obtained 216.10 points for second and Nelson accumulated 200.75 points for third. Jude Dizon of San Joaquin Delta College had the fourth-place total of 188.20 points while Bedford’s 173.10 points placed him seventh.
Taylor plans to return to Palomar College for the 2022-23 athletic year.