HARTFORD — Every point counts when history is on the line.
Norwalk High senior diver Kevin Bradley needed every one of his 512 points Tuesday night at the State Open Diving Championship at Bulkeley High School’s James Brophy Natatorium.
Bradley successfully defended his State Open diving crown as he held off Sheehan High’s Andrew Buehler by 1.05 points.
It was high drama as Bradley saw his 33-point edge after Round 9 of 11 dives shrink to 11 points after Round 10 and then a single point at the finish.
The win allowed Bradley to win the diving trifecta for the second straight year. He is the two-time FCIAC, two-time Class LL and two-time State Open diving champion.
“It wasn’t the plan to cut it that close,” said Bradley laughing and exhaling. “On the board, I did have it in my mind that this was the final dive of my high school career. To repeat at all three titles is a nice way to end my high school career.”
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) March 13, 2019
Sheehan’s Buehler was thrilled to close out his senior year and high school diving career in such style. Buehler finished third in last week’s Class S diving. He came into the State Open with the lowest qualifying point total (360.45) in the 24 diver field.
“Overall, it was a great meet. I was behind by significant points most of the way,” Buehler said. “The last few dives things kicked in and I pulled it together. To score 150 points higher is a super way to go out my senior year.”
Bradley was able to survive the closing hiccups because his 11-dive repetoire has more high value dives (2.2 difficulty or higher) than everyone else in the 24 diver field.
Bradley was able to write his script this season because he made his decision early last fall to attend and dive for the University of Michigan.
“Which college was a hard decision. And a decision not made overnight,” Bradley said. “Michigan was the best fit for me on so many levels. Having the college decision process done gave me security and allowed to enjoy my senior year of high school.”
The New Canaan High School divers — having celebrated a Class L title with the Rams’ swim team last Monday night at Southern Connecticut State University — gave the Rams another huge points boost heading into Thursday’s State Open Swim Championship where Greenwich High awaits.
Junior Jackson Camporin was third at State Open diving with 449.20 points. NC junior James Ragusa was fourth with 447.45 points. Junior George Moore (443.85) was seventh with junior Connor Cloud (442.95) in eighth place.
“The state diving meets have been a great experience. We made a few mistakes but it all paid off in the end tonight,” Camporin said. “Celebrating with the team Monday after winning the Class L swim title was great motivation for us tonight.”
“I had a rough start,” Ragusa said. “But the key was we all stayed on track. We kept our heads up and keep pushing and pushing right to the 11th dive. My goal entering the year was to qualify to be a part of the state postseason. My huge committment paid off and should pay off again next year.”
In the end, nobody had the answer to stop Mr. Bradley from his date with diving history.
“I feel like all the training of the last seven years is paying off,” Bradley said. “I will take all I’ve leasrned into my next challenge at Michigan.”
“Kevin Bradley’s technique is amazing,” Buehler said in admiration. “He has a few bigger dives than everybiody else. For me to be so close is amazing.”