Diving right in

For the first half of the 2016-17 season, Becca Bryan was a beginning diver without a diving coach.

Now, just three months after picking up the sport and five weeks after getting a coach, the Columbus East senior is on the verge of earning a possible berth to this weekend’s Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals.

“When I first started diving, I said to myself, ‘I’m just going to do this for fun,’” Bryan said. “Then halfway through, I said ‘This could turn into something.’ I really started hitting hard at practice, and now I’m going to regional.”

Bryan advanced to regional with a second-place finish in Saturday’s Columbus North Sectional. The regional is Tuesday at Bloomington North, and the top eight qualify for state.

That Bryan is even diving this year came almost by accident. She was a gymnast her first two years of high school and finished ninth in the state in the all-around as a sophomore. The past two years, she has been a cheerleader.

“Since I quit gymnastics, my mom kept saying, ‘You should try diving. You’d be good at it.’ Eventually, I was like ‘It’s my senior year. Go ahead and give it a shot.’”

She’s glad she did.

Bryan said that with her gymnastics background, she knew how to control her body and the movements, and that correlates with diving immensely. However, she needed to pick up some of the technical aspects of diving, and that’s where Nancy Snyder came in.

Synder, who lives in Hope, was a three-time state qualifier at New Albany and dove at Vincennes University. She came to some of Columbus North’s meets to watch her neighbor, Sarah Towsley, dive for the Bull Frogs.

“I started coming to watch her dive, and she was like, ‘Hey, Columbus East doesn’t have a coach,’” Snyder said. “So I went over to Columbus East and talked to them because I figured it’s just not fair for these kids who are trying to do better, and there’s not a coach to help them.”

By that point, East had a couple volunteer coaches come in and show Bryan a video of a diver and asked her if she could try it. She picked up on those, but really started to click after Snyder started coaching her on Jan. 2.

In Saturday’s sectional, Bryan scored a personal-best 327.80 points to earn the runner-up spot. She was a little disappointed with her own performance there and thinks she can do better in Tuesday’s regional.

“She’s come a long way,” Snyder said. “She had a really good background before I came in. She had good, solid skills, and we just improved on that and learned a couple of dives that I think helped make the difference.”

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What: Bloomington North Diving Regional

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Bloomington North High School

Admission: $5

Who: 20 divers (top four from each of five sectionals), including Columbus East’s Becca Bryan and Jennings County’s Hailey Brown