By Tamas Mondovics
Eleven-year-old Fishhawk resident and sixth grade Bell Creek Academy student Aiden Sadler had no doubt of posting a solid performance during this year’s USA Diving National Championship held in Columbus, OH this summer.
Competing against some of the nation’s best junior divers, which will test the nerves of even the best and most experienced athletes, winning first place on the three meter springboard was both a proud moment and a qualifier for the future Olympian to represent TEAM USA in Victoria, Canada at the 2017 Junior Pan American Championships in October.
Held every two years, the Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) Junior Pan American Championships provide international competition experience for junior divers from the Pan American countries.
Competition is conducted in group A (16-18), B (14-15), C (12-13) and D (11-and-under) age groups.
Aside from wining the Gold, Sadler placed fifth in the 1-meter and seventh in the 5-meter springboard competition.
Sadler’s mom Melanie described the nerve-wracking drama of the 3-meter final, emphasizing the family’s hope for Aiden to place in the top three.
“As we watched his warmup, we began to worry that it wouldn’t happen, but when the meet began our hope was restored more and more with each dive,” Melanie said.
“We had to sweat it out with each dive until his last dive of round six. It seemed like it took an eternity for his score to display but when it did and showed his name as the leader, we leaped from our seats and cheered like never before.”
Things, however were not over just yet as the family had to wait for two final divers who could have potentially defeated Aiden.
Aiden began diving four years ago after his coach, Chris Colwill formed Team Colwill Diving at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, following his return from his second Olympics.
With instruction and coaching from Chris combined with commitment and hard work, Aiden’s skills have improved year after year.
“I have to practice, practice, practice,” he said, adding, “I know I have to continue progressing for the success to continue. I would like to be an Olympic diver, like my coach.” For results of the Pan Am Championships, visit www.teamusa.org/USA-Diving/Events/.