MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown High School divers Monica Marcello and Dan Kinney signed Division I National Letters of Intent to dive for the University of Connecticut in a signing ceremony held at the high school Wednesday afternoon.
“Coaching Monica and Dan is a dream come true,” said Middletown diving coach Matt Quinn. “The two motivate each other. They have the philosophy that anything you can do, I can do better.”
Kinney, 17, who holds the school’s diving record and who finished fourth in the State Open diving championships last March, has high goals for this season.
“I want to win the Open,” Kinney said. “I know that’s a high goal, but it motivates me.”
Kinney broke the school record last season in a dual meet at Glastonbury. Three days later, Marcello broke the record that Kinney broke, but remains in second place on the Middletown High all-time diving record book.
“I want to make it to the Open and I want to get a medal,” said Marcello, 17, who dived for the first time last winter.,
“We have phenomenal athletes in our diving program,” said Blue Dragons head swim coach Trevor Charles.. “We dominated Class L last year [the swim and diving team finished fourth in the state] as Dan was third, Monica was fifth, Adam Gauthier was 10th and Austin Marino was 16th. When we go into dual meets, we can almost always count on going 1-2-3 in diving.”
Kinney has always wanted to be a Husky.
“I always wanted to go to UConn, even before I was a diver,” he said. “The program is very good, the facilities are good and it’s just a good fit for me.”
“I liked the vibe and the atmosphere at UConn,” said Marcello. “Coach [John] Bransfield is a good fit for me. He’s very competitive, but he also brings a healthy balance to the sport and I like that.”
The Middletown High swim team has not had a losing season since the merger of the city’s two public high schools in 1984.
“My experience here has been phenomenal,” said Kinney. “I’ve had a lot of fun and what I’d like to see is for four of my diving teammates [maximum allowed] qualify for the Open this season.”
Marcello said, “The high school highlight for me was when Dan broke the diving record, then I broke the old record three days later.”
Middletown Director of Athletics Mike Pitruzzello said that the Letters of Intent were the first for a Division I school in recent memory at MHS.
“We have many student-athletes who go on to play in college, but Division I Letters of Intent are impressive,” Pitruzzello said.
Others at the ceremony included the students’ parents and Principal Colleen Weiner.