FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Darton State College sophomore Crawford Berry renewed his reign as the 3-meter diving national champion today at the NJCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Fort Pierce, Fla.
He set a new Darton-record high score of 583.50, and beat his closest opponent by nearly 150 points.
“It was not even close,” said Darton head swim coach Will Breehl. “It was Crawford Berry and then everybody else. He could have failed a dive and he still would have won by 30 or 40 points.”
Berry had commented prior to the meet that there was the added pressure of defending a pair of 2013 gold medals in the 1- and 3-meter events, but when he stepped onto the diving boards, his training would take over. It certainly did.
“In the warm-up, I was a little skeptical at first,” Berry said today. “Everyone was doing real well, but I felt really good. My dives were on point. From then on, I knew.”
Into his routine, Berry incorporated a new dive called a fall-out, which consists of a forward two-and-a-half flip with a twist, he said. He called it the hardest dive he’d ever learned, and he and Darton diving coach Ed Goodman had been working on it for the last several weeks prior to the national meet.
“He really helped me out a lot this year,” Berry said of Goodman, who is in his first year of coaching at Darton. “Having him as a coach and getting to go to the Moose Moss Aquatic Center in Moultrie were probably the biggest factors in this.”
After his last dive, Berry hugged his mother and spoke to his father on the telephone. He can’t relax yet, though, as he has the 1-meter prelims at 1 p.m., tomorrow, followed by the 1-meter finals at 1 p.m., Saturday.
He could become the only athlete to win four gold medals during his studies at Darton State.