Katie Frank had a season to remember for Williamsport High School's diving team. She was undefeated in every meet, and in February became the second girl from Williamsport to advance to the PIAA championships in the last 11 years. Hard work and determination is how she ended up in this position.
Frank, a junior, was a gymnast for 10 years, and she said that her background in that helped her immensely with diving, especially with its twisting and flipping aspects. The transition from jumping and landing on the floor to jumping off of a board and landing in water was something Katie overcame.
"My teammates are a huge part of my success," said Frank, who wasn't sure in the preseason if she was even going to dive this winter but she became determined to finish the season strong following the teams first couple of victories.
That season ends this week at Bucknell's Kinney Natatorium, site of the PIAA swimming and diving championships Wednesday-Saturdayy. Frank is one of 7 area qualfiers. She qualified by winning the District 2-4 AAA title in February. Her diving competition is scheduled for Thursday.
Frank's success didn't happen overnight, said Williamsport diving coach Jessica Wiehagen.
"Katie had to become more consistent with her dives," said Wiehagen.
This year Frank's scores averaged from 180 to more than 200 and the degree of difficulty score was typically 6.5 of higher. She is seeded 13th in the event, which will be held this Thursday.
Ever since districts ended Katie has been practicing every day. The district champion is now adding two new dives, a back 1-1/2, 1-1/2 and a reverse 1-1/2 to try and increase her degree of difficulty scores for states. The back 1-1/2, 1-1/2 consists of 1 1/2 backward somersaults and 1 1/2 twists. The reverse 1 1/2 is one where she said she leaves the board facing forward before spinning back to hit the water facing the board.
Frank said competing in gymnastics while younger has helped develop her diving skills, which now includes 11 dives.
"I learned how to twist well," said Frank. "A lot of the twisters have a high degree of difficulty. I can do hard twisters, so that give me some advantage."
Other area qualifiers for this week's meet:
Bryan Kavanagh, Williamsport, seeded 32nd in the boys 200 free.
Marissa Gombosi, Montoursville, seeded 10th in the girls 200 IM and fifth in the 100 back.
Caitlin Foley, Lewisburg, seeded 10th in the girls 200 IM.
Adon Shapiro, Lewisburg, seeded 21st in the boys 200 free and 9th in the boys 500 free
Blair Carson, Wellsboro, seeded 26th in the boys 100 breast
Nathan Cotner, seeded 29th in the boys 200 free.