Most high school divers train years and never make it to the state championships.
Pine-Richland sophomore Dominic Giordano didn’t cut corners, but he cut the learning curve when he became the only sophomore to earn one of the top medals at the WPIAL Class AAA Diving Championships Feb. 26 at the Pine-Richland Natatorium.
He captured the Bronze Medal and qualified for the PIAA Class AAA Boys Diving Championships where he will compete from 2-4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium in Lewisburg.
“I kind of ask myself the same question,” Giordano said. “I’m a pretty quick learner, and I just have a passion for it.
“Now, I’m really excited about going to states, to see what the competition is like across the state.”
Giordano said he grew up watching his older sister, Ali, compete in gymnastics and diving, but he wanted to be a swimmer.
Pine-Richland swimming coach Pete Barry watched Giordano take a few casual dives during a free period at Pitt Aquatic Club, however, and saw something special.
A little over a year later, Giordano finished third in the recent WPIAL championships with a 466.00 total after his 11 dives, which included voluntary and mandatory attempts.
North Allegheny senior and three-time champ Connor Kuremsky put on a show, taking the gold with a 607.30 finish, and J.B. Colod of Fox Chapel took the silver medal with a 539.00 total.
“Connor [Kuremsky] I knew would win because he’s such an amazing diver,” Giordano said. “All of the top divers, we’re just like a big group of friends, and we look to the more experienced divers for advice.”
Pine-Richland junior Lauren Lamendola won the gold medal in the WPIAL Class AAA girls diving competition with a 421.65 total also on Feb. 26 at Pine-Richland. She defeated silver medalist Jenna Zalsonis (405.20) of Franklin Regional and bronze winner Meredith Harbison (403.35) of Butler.
Lamendola will compete in the PIAA girls Class AAA diving event from 2-4:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, at Bucknell University.
Besides diving with the Rams swimming team, Giordano trains with the Pitt Aquatic Club, which Doe and Julian Krug coach. The training at Pitt’s Trees Pool is part of the United States Diving and AAU Diving programs.
Before Giordano hits the water during the two-and-one-half hour practices at Pitt, he begins with stretching exercises and workouts on the poolside dry-land equipment, which includes a trampoline, stretching mats, landing mats and medicine and yoga balls.
“Once I set a goal, I just keep driving myself if I don’t get it,” Giordano said. “I’m not afraid to set high goals if it feels right for me.”
The moment Giordano comes out of the water at Trees Pool, he can review each dive with instant replay feedback.
While Giordano said he will focus on the 1-meter board this week leading up to states, he also practices on the 3-meter board and the platform for national competitions.
“I haven’t been to a lot of national competitions, but it fuels me to keep working a lot harder,” he said.
Pine-Richland diving coach Maria Misenhelter also coaches Giordano.
Giordano said he prefers to do his front dives first during competitions such as the upcoming state meet because that helps him adjust to the board on takeoffs for the remainder of his dives.
Pine-Richland sophomore Tina Broen also made a strong showing, finishing 14th in the WPIALs with a 326.40 total.