Diving for Greenwich during her senior season is an accomplishment in itself for Saylor Kirsch, who returned to the team, after being sidelined with an injury in 2018.
Kirsch hasn’t just competed though, she’s produced impressive results, her highlight coming Wednesday at the CIAC Class LL diving finals at Middletown High School.
Totaling 443.75 points over 11 dives, Kirsch showed that she’s all the way back from her injury, winning the Class LL diving title.
“It was really exciting, because I have been working so hard the past few months,” Kirsch said. “It was really exciting to be back from the injury with force.”
Kirsch underwent surgery on both sides of her hip last year. She was diagnosed with labral tears and impingements on both hips, causing her to have surgery on her right hip in August of 2018 and left hip in November at Hospital for Special Surgery last year.
Recovery and rehabilitation following her second surgery last November took seven months. She also missed a good portion of her sophomore season in 2017 with hip and knee pain, so rejoining the Cardinals squad this fall and excelling is especially significant.
“Seeing my progress over the past few months has been a nice surprise,” Kirsch said. “Just before I went to HSS last year, I was told by some people that I probably could not go back to diving and I wondered if I was ever going to do it again, so winning the state title was especially rewarding.”
Drawing scores of 8.5 and 9 on some of her inward dives and reverse one-and-one-half, Kirsch was highly consistent throughout Wednesday’s Class LL finals.
“The difference from the FCIAC and state meet was that I was able to get much more height on these dives,” Kirsch said. “I nailed my reverse one-and-one half. Usually I try not to listed to how I am doing after they make cuts, but I accidentally overheard after the fifth dive and eighth dive I was in first, so that put me a little bit on edge.”
Kirsch’s winning performance highlighted a sparkling night for the Cardinals on the 1-meter diving board at Middletown. Greenwich senior Regina Frias finished second (436.15) and her twin sister, Casey Kirsch, placed fourth (382.55). Javiera Garcia was 11th overall (350.95).
“Having teammates around me for these big high school meets makes the experience lighter, it’s nice having all of us there supporting each other,” Saylor Kirsch said.
Up next for Kirsch and her GHS diving teammates is the State Open diving finals on Thursday at Middletown.
“At the State Open, there are definitely dives I want to do a little bit better at,” Saylor Kirsch said. “I want to try to beat my own score and put myself in good position.”
The Kirsch sisters also dive at the YMCA of Greenwich Marlins, which is where they got their start on the board as 7-year-olds.
“A lot of people ask if we are competitive, but we are really supportive of each other,” Saylor Kirsch said. “We have very similiar ways of going about doing things and we help each other get through tough rounds of diving.”
The Kirsch sisters will each continue their diving careers at the collegiate level. Saylor will dive at Fordham University and Casey will compete at Colgate.
“Diving at Fordham has been my dream, so I worked hard to make it back, keeping that thought in mind,” Kirsch said. “I’m happy to make it happen.”