Provo • Six times Lone Peak junior Kimble Mahler dove, flipping and twisting through the air with more precision and skill than anyone else. When it was done, he stepped on the podium, and like that it became official — the gymnast had found a new sport.
Mahler won the boys’ state diving meet Thursday afternoon, with a score of 282.75, besting a field of more experienced divers. He only has been diving for about a year and a half, only picking up the sport when a cracked vertebra ended his career as a gymnast.
State diving results
1. Lizzie Holmes, Bingham, 221.65
2. Raegan Callaway, Cottonwood, 194.20
3. Angela Foley, Rowland Hall, 177.80
4. Elaina Thomas, Skyline, 169.45
5. Taylor Aucutt, Olympus, 168.40
1. Kimble Mahler, Lone Peak, 282.75
2. Keaton Quinn, Park City, 244.35
3. Christopher Stubbs, Provo, 239.20
4. Calvin Cook, Highland, 230.75
5. Thomas Fackrell, Brighton, 211.70
Already he has ascended to the top of Utah prep diving, as Thursday’s result made clear. It is an accomplishment that was anything but certain when he first made the switch from the gym to the pool.
"It’s worked out pretty well so far," he said. "It took a while to get into it, especially the board work. It took a lot of hours getting used to the board and stuff like that.
"I want to keep improving and progressing. Placing isn’t really too big in my mind — I just more want to keep getting better."
Mahler’s experience as a gymnast — he began when he was just 6 — prepared him physically for diving, teaching him how to control and contort his body. But it also trained him to be mentally tough, something he said is a necessity for elite divers.
"It’s a lot of pressure because if you get off on just one dive, it can kind of throw you off mentally for the rest of the dives," Mahler said. "Of if you fail one of your dives, it throws you out of the running. Your whole season working, and then one dive can throw you out of that running."
Now fully committed to diving, Mahler has long-term goals in the sport. He’d like to repeat as a state champion as a senior next year. But his sights are set even higher than that — already he is thinking about qualifying for the Olympics.
"That’s going to take a lot of work," Mahler said. "But that’s one of my dreams."
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