By David Fierro
STAMFORD — Divers Lee Christensen of Darien High School and Bobby Ross of New Canaan expected the FCIAC Championships to go right down to the wire. But the competition ending in a first-place tie? No way.
That’s exactly what happened though, as Ross and Christensen were fit to be tied after 11 dives Wednesday at Westhill High School.
For the first time ever, two divers shared the FCIAC title and Christensen and Ross didn’t seem to mind. Consistent throughout, Ross and Christensen each finished with a winning score of 425.40.
“I’ve been diving for a long time and I’ve never heard of anything like this happen,” said Christensen, a sophomore who placed fifth at last year’s FCIAC finals with 342.35 points. “I would rather have it end in a tie like this and share the victory than anything else happening. We dove together for five or six years (Whirlwind Diving) and are good friends.”
Said Ross: “If anyone told me it would have ended in a tie I would have said they were crazy. Grabbing first place is awesome for our team and sharing it with a buddy of mine since third grade is great.”
Junior Sean Burston of Westhill-Stamford, last year’s champion, finished third (392.30), followed by Greenwich High junior Jeff Aselin (377.70) and Cardinals sophomore Andrew Bologna (356.40). Kyle O’Donnell of Darien (340.00), Tom Kalinowski (New Canaan, 322.75), Robbie Walters (Darien, 301.85), Kylie More (Fairfield co-op, 277.30) and Griffin Edmonds (New Canaan, 256.45) rounded out the top 10.
Holding the lead with a score of 366.80 through nine dives, Burston was in position to repeat as champion. But Burston, who edged Ross for the title a year ago (440.90-438.65) executed an incorrect dive in the 10th round, preventing him from scoring.
“I kind of messed up, I was doing well and was in a good mood, I just messed it up,” said Burston, a junior. “It happens.”
“He was in good position to repeat then he made a mistake and with the good competition that was here, you can’t make a mistake,” Westhill-Stamford diving coach Jim Bowser said. “Hats off to the two guys who out pointed him today. Hopefully, we’ll make corrections for the next couple of meets.”
Burston drew two scores of 8 and one of 7 with his back dive in the second round and earned two scores of 7 with his reverse dive in the pike position in round six. His inward dive pike in the seventh round earned him a score of 9 from one of the judges.
’“I was pretty consistent except for that one dive,” Burston said. “I’m looking forward to working on my state of mind for meets like this and I’m looking forward to states.”
Ross started strong, scoring an 8, 7, 7 with his back dive from the pike position in round 1 and earning two scores of 8.5 with a reverse dive in the pike position in the third round. His inward 1 1/2 was also solid throughout.
“My money dive was my inward 1 1/2,” Ross said. “I was really happy with that dive. Last year it came down to two points, so I knew it was going to be really close again.”
The middle rounds were key for Christensen, who earned one score of 9 in the sixth round and an 8.5 with a back dive in round seven.
Aselin scored well on his first dive (inward pike, 8, 7, 7, 7.5) and effectively executed most of his dives.
“I did pretty well, except for two dives I messed up,” said Aselin, who finished fourth in last year’s FCIAC Championships (348.60). “I need to fix those mistakes for LLs and the Open. Andrew (Bologna) and Ricky (Marcangeli, 11th place) also did really well tonight.”
With three divers finishing among the top 10, Darien scored 42.5 points toward Thursday’s FCIAC Swimming Championships, which will be held at Greenwich High School. New Canaan totaled 40.5 diving points, while Greenwich registered 35.
FCIAC Diving Championships
1. Lee Christensen (Darien) and Bobby Ross (New Canaan) 425.40; 3. Sean Burston (Westhill/Stamford) 392.30; 4. Jeff Aselin (Greenwich) 377.70; 5. Andrew Bologna (Greenwich) 356.40; 6. Kyle O’Donnell (Darien) 340.00; 7. Tom Kalinowski (New Canaan) 322.75; 8. Robbie Waters (Darien) 301.85; 9. Kylie More (Fairfield co-op) 277.30; 10. Griffin Edmonds (New Canaan) 256.45; 11. Riccardo Marcangeli (Greenwich) 254.90; 12. Jacques Descoust (Fairfield co-op) 243.95; 13. Charlie Clark (Wilton) 232; 14. Kate Ray (New Canaan) 230; 15. Jeff Dutter (Fairfield co-op) 213.90; 16. Jeremy Langham (Staples) 177.50; 17. Trevor Huffard (Wilton) 133.10; 18. Ryan Meegan (Ridgefield) 117.05; 19. Aiden Walsh (Ridgefield) 98.35.