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By Brian Fees
Tioga County Sports Report
ITHACA — Competing at the state championships can be intimidating for young athletes.

Owego’s Kaelyn Katchuk looked plenty comfortable in the preliminaries at the NYSPHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Ithaca College on Friday.

The freshman entered the diving competition seeded 14th out of 46 divers with a top score of 498.2.

In the preliminaries Katchuk went out and had a very strong start, posting a score of 214 through the opening five dives. That had the Owego freshman sitting in seventh place.

Katchuk made it through both cutdowns, the first dropped the field from 46 to 24 after five dives and the second left the field with just 20 divers after three more dives. The final 20 divers do the final three dives of the 11 dive competition.

In the end Katchuk finished 17th at 433.60. She was just 11 points behind Corning’s Brooke Terwilliger, who was the final medalist in 10th place at 444.30.

For Kaelyn’s dad, and dive coach, Roger Katchuk it was a special achievement for the freshman to make it to states.

“It’s an opportunity that she has worked hard for,” Roger said. “She’s been diving hard for about 15 months. She’s done well in some meets. She qualified for this meet and this is the second biggest high school state meet in the United States, only California is bigger. So, for her to get into this meet, that’s a big achievement.”

For any young diver states is something you have to experience to really see what it’s like.

“You can explain how this meet is, but you can’t really feel it and experience it until you are on the deck and hearing the noise and sounds,” Roger Katchuk said.

After 11 dives at states, and hours of warmups before the meet, Katchuk got a chance to talk to and watch a lot of other divers.

“It’s a chance to talk to others, see how they throw things, how they do things” Roger Katchuk said. “It’s a learning experience, for sure.”

IN TOP PHOTO: Kaelyn Katchuk dives at the state championships. . . PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES

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