HUNTSVILLE, Al. – When Sophie Maurer gets excited about what she really likes, she sounds like your typical 8-year-old at the ice cream parlor diving into her favorite summertime treat.
“I’m working on an inward, a front flip, front half twist, a front dive and a back dive,” Maurer said.
Oh, that sounds delicious. But wait, Maurer’s not your typical 8-year-old talking about eating ice cream, or a banana split. Not to say she doesn’t enjoy a scoop or two of ice cream every now and then.
She’s actually a talented member of the Whitesburg Tide talking about the upcoming Rocket City Swim League Diving Championships at the Brahan Spring Natatorium Friday, July 11. The exciting event is free to view and plenty of bleacher seating is available. The Natatorium is located at 2213 Drake, Ave.
The city diving championships begin at 9 a.m. with the younger competitors springing into action first. The meet breaks for an hour at noon, before the older divers compete though the afternoon. The meet culminates with the open division.
More than 130 athletes from six city pools will compete for individual and team titles. The teams just finished a set of five dual meets during the regular season at a home and away basis. Divers in the city meet range from ages from 5 to 19.
Friday’s diving events kick off a weekend of diving and swimming at the Natatorium. The swim meet portion is Saturday and Sunday. The city swim championships features 18 teams from pools all around Madison County. Ten-and-under swimmers start both days at 8:30 a.m. The older athletes compete in the afternoon. More than 1,200 swimmers are expected to compete in the city swim meet.
Greenwyche Pool is the defending city dive champions. The Gators are coached by Huntsville High School star diver Jordan Bagwell, who is also a former RSCL city dive age group winner.
“We have a large support group from people who stayed in it long after their children have left,” said Debra Kibler, who will serve as an official and city dive meet secretary. “The officials for the meet will be from a base that we have, who do not have children in the meet. We’re fortunate with that.”
Debra and her husband, Tommy Kibler, have been with the RCSL for more than 20 years. Tommy is a former diver at Grissom High School and has also coached for the Tigers. He’s currently Piedmont’s head coach in the RCSL.
“The younger divers do the more basic dives and as you age up into the afternoon, you’ll see some of the more technical and difficult dives,” Debra Kibler said. “Most of the divers are also swimmers in the Rocket City Swim League. Some are year-round in our sport. We also have recreational divers.”
Maurer is one of those year-round divers. She’s also a year-round swimmer. She swims and dives for the Huntsville Swim Association and also for Whitesburg Pool in the RCSL. The obvious question is which sport does she prefer?
“It’s a tie,” Maurer said. “I’ll be super busy doing the dive meet on Friday and then the swim meet on Saturday and Sunday, but it’s going to be so much fun.”
She’s telling the truth. Maurer has tied for the 7-and-under dive title once and won that age group outright another time. She’s in the age 8-9 dive group now.
Maurer is one of the top swimmers in the 8-and-under competition this year, too. Her best times have her seeded in the top five overall after the regular season in all four disciplines: butterfly, back, breaststroke and freestyle. She’s allowed to swim in three individual events in the city swim meet and is sure to also be a member of more than one of the 8-and-under Whitesburg relay teams.
Maurer is home schooled, entering the third grade. She has been diving with HSA for two years and swimming for the club team for three years. She’s been a swimmer and a diver for Whitesburg the past four seasons.
Maurer says she likes doing the butterfly and breaststroke best in the pool. Her eyes light up when asked what she wants to learn to do next off the diving board.
“It’s the reverse dive,” she exclaimed! “I love diving. The thing I like the most about both swimming and diving is my coaches and friends.”
And when all the waves settle this weekend, maybe it’s time for that ice cream sundae made with Sophie’s favorite scoops: cookie dough ice cream.