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Updated Apr 30, 2015 - 2:13 pm

Switch from swimming to diving works out for Verrado soph

Steven Hayes doesn’t really analyze what makes him successful as a diver for Buckeye Verrado High.

All he knows is that he enjoys it, and that’s the main thing.

The sophomore is in only his first year on the board, but it seems like longer, said Denise Stewart, coach of the school’s boys and girls teams.

“It’s amazing how he has caught on so quickly,’’ Stewart said.

Hayes swam in the sprint events (50 and 100 freestyle) and the medley relays and generally did well as a freshman, but there seemed to be something missing.

“He was not really looking happy,’’ Stewart said.

Hayes had noticed the divers practicing nearby at an area YMCA pool, and asked Stewart, “What if I tried diving?’’

“He just fell in love with it,’’ Stewart said.

“I had started swimming, but for some reason, I liked diving better. I’ve had good coaching, I guess,’’ he said.

He had not tried it before. Asked if he was nervous trying it for the first time, he said, “Just a little.’’

Hayes is the school’s only male diver, and he hopes to qualify for the Division II state meet. The qualifying meet will be held Saturday (Oct. 26) at Perry High in Gilbert. The state meet will take place Nov. 8-9 at the Skyline Aquatic Center in east Mesa.

Learning new dives can be energizing and full of uncertainty at the same time.

He wants to become the best all-around diver possible and knows everything continues to be a work in progress.

“I haven’t really done it enough to say I have a best dive yet,’’ he said.

Stewart said he still is available to compete in swimming events if needed.

Academics are important to Hayes, who gets all As and Bs. He has no favorite subject.

“He has done really well with academics,’’ Stewart said. “A lot of times he will bring his homework to practice and when there is a break, he will go up in the bleachers and work on it. Some athletes, you are worried about them studying, but with him, you don’t need to worry.’’

The 5-foot-3, 110-pound Hayes usually practices two to three hours a day, about six days a week.

He hopes to continue to dive at Verrado the next two years and continue to improve.

It appears that he made the right move.












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