Archbishop Murphy senior wins state title | Diving

Ex-gymnast excels during her first year competing in sport
By David Pan | Nov 17, 2017
Courtesy of: Archbishop Murphy High School Kelsey Bassett

Archbishop Murphy’s Kelsey Bassett didn’t necessarily have any high expectations coming into her first 2A State Swimming and Diving Championships.

Even though the Wildcat senior diver won the district championship, she wasn’t thinking about a state title.

“I was really just looking forward to being at state, my first state meet and having fun,” said Bassett, a former gymnast who only took up diving her senior year.

But after the first day of competition, Bassett was in first place with 259.75 points, ahead of Steilacoom’s Julie Burlingame, who had 237.30.

After the results were posted, Bassett realized that she was in first place and had a good shot at winning a state title.

“My last two dive were dives I wasn’t extremely consistent with,” Bassett said. “They made me a little bit nervous. I was just looking forward to completing them. Whatever the scores were going to be was fine.”

In large part due to her gymnastics background, Bassett finished strong the second day of competition, winning the 2A state diving championship Saturday, Nov. 11, at the King County Aquatic Center.

Bassett scored 339.25 points, to place ahead of Fife’s Haley Welch, who had 306.15.

“It feels really cool,” Bassett said of winning the title.

Bassett attends Granite Falls High School, but the school does not have a swimming and diving team. Through an agreement with Archbishop Murphy High School, Bassett is able to dive for the Wildcats.

A fractured lower back due to overuse eventually caused Bassett to give up gymnastics. When she was healthy Bassett took up the pole vault during her sophomore year. Last year, she played soccer in the fall, but wasn’t really comfortable with the sport.

“I wanted to stay active during the fall season,” Bassett said.

Her choices were between diving and volleyball.

Bassett said that her lack of hand/eye coordination pushed her toward diving. Her gymnastic experience definitely helped Bassett with her diving.

“The flipping and air sense are very similar,” Bassett said. “It’s very fun.”

SENIOR ADVANCES TO TWO FINALS: Archbishop Murphy senior Caroline Kowalchuk finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle and also advanced to the 200 freestyle consolation finals, where she took 10th place. The Wildcats finished 17th overall.

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