Divers from LWHS and JHS qualify for districts: Dive coach does double time for high schools

Mike Fahrenbach coaches seven divers from Juanita High School and five from Lake Washington High School. At the same time. A conflict of interest? Not really - diving is about as individual a sport as they come. "All our goals are set on the districts," he says. The trick is juggling practice, especially with staggered end-of-day times and the fact that Lake Washington doesn't have a pool. To allow for traveling time, Fahrenbach runs practice for three and a half to four hours.

States are Nov. 11

District qualifying meets are Oct. 21 and 28, culminating in an all-day district meet Nov. 4. The state championships are Nov. 11 at the King County Aquatics Center. Fahrenbach said that his best diver, freshman Anna Steiner, had a qualifying score of 322.85, but was just short in her total degree of difficulty. "With two more meets to qualify, I am very confident that she will still make it," he said. "She's a fast learner and will probably make state." Steiner was a member of Kirkland Orcas summer dive team and attends International Community School. She swims for Lake Washington.  

At the Oct. 20 district qualifying meet, Tracie Byrne, who Fahrenbach says is his best Juanita diver, bettered her previous district qualifying score by 20 points for a total of 252.40. Malia Jurick also qualified with a score of 234.5. The 29-year-old coach anticipates that Hannah Grant and Blair Jordan will qualify at the Oct. 28 meet. 

Neale learned 11 dives in a week

Fahrenbach, who ran the Houghton Beach, Waverly Beach and Peter Kirk pool programs this summer, is especially proud of Larissa Neale.

"She started diving with me only last week [a week before the qualifying meet], but was talented enough to learn all 11 dives to be able to compete today. We are all very proud of her even though she hasn't made districts yet." He adds that, tragically, Larisa has lost both of her parents in the last few years "and yet still maintains the competitive attitude of a champion."

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