AUSTIN — Killeen junior Grant McCain and sophomore Kailey Milhorn have been diving for two months, and unlike their teammates on the swim team, they never had a chance to show off that hard work during a competition.
On Friday, McCain and Milhorn finally got the opportunity to see what they could do off the diving board.
The Killeen duo competed in a diving event for the first time this season at the Austin ISD Capital City Swim Classic at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center.
“We’ve only had two months to do to it and I think we did pretty well today,” McCain said.
McCain, who has also swam in previous competitions, finished sixth in the boys competition with a final score of 118.65 while Milhorn placed eighth in the girls competition with a final score of 109.85.
“I started out pretty shaky because it was my first one, but I think toward the end we got more confident,” Milhorn said.
Unlike the Killeen swimmers who have a more habitual practice schedule, working out can be an adventure for McCain and Milhorn.
Since the local facility is not equipped to practice diving, the two, along with Killeen swim coach Valerie Nogle, have had to practice at the Temple High facilities as well as the Burnet City Pool, where they have to pay admission.
“It’s a hurdle that we struggle to get over and with having practice two days a week, it’s a struggle having to stop and start up again,” Nogle said. “They push each other probably harder than I can push them.”
The first meet of the season naturally brings some nerves, but for the pair, settling into the competition was another challenge because of the venue and atmosphere.
The AISD Invitational Classic included schools from all over Central Texas and was held at the facility used by the University of Texas.
“It was really a lot to take in today,” McCain said.
“We’re used to diving with just us two and no one else in the pool, but then having these other divers who do it for years and have to practice every day, it was tough to get over that.”
The Jamail Texas Swim Center has a separate diving facility with an 18-foot deep diving well.
“It was the part where we were competing against experienced divers that made me nervous,” Milhorn said.
Although numbers may not be on the Killeen program’s side, Nogle hopes that will change in the next few years and the program grows.
“We’re just going to have to work with what we’ve got to see where we can go with it and see if we can start something more permanent,” Nogle said.
Harker Heights' Sluss takes gold, silver
Harker Heights senior Matthew Sluss made the most out of his final appearance at the Capital City Swim Classic.
Sluss took the gold in the boys 200-yard free (1 minute, 14.29 seconds), beating Austin Westlake’s Nick Carlson by 1.34.
Sluss swam a preliminary time of 1:48.76. He also finished second in the boys 100 butterfly (54.22). Sluss’ time was 0.26 seconds behind Kevin Fang of Westlake.