Record-breaker | Diving

Kamiak senior diver goes for her third straight district title
By David Pan | Nov 01, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak’s Naomi Bingham practices a dive at Kamiak High School.

Kamiak diver Naomi Bingham has a lot on her plate since the end of the regular season.

The senior standout is hard at work perfecting her dives in preparation for what Bingham hopes will be her third straight Northwest District diving title. Bingham also is looking into potential colleges she’ll be attending after high school.

The district meet is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 4, at Snohomish Aquatic Center. The 4A state swimming and diving championships follow on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Bingham finished seventh at state last year and she’s looking to move up in the standings.

“I’d love to place in the top 4. That’s the ultimate goal,” Bingham said. “But mostly I just want to hit all my dives and do my best and have the best meet of the year.”

Bingham’s senior season already is one for the record books. At a district diver qualifier meet on Oct. 7, she set a school record with a score of 427.60 points, breaking the previous record of 419.15 set in 2010 by Fiona Weeks. Two weeks ago, Bingham broke her own record, scoring 434.15 at another district dive qualifier.

“I was really excited,” Bingham said about the record. “It was a goal for this year.”

Bingham could tell that the Oct. 7 meet was shaping up to be a record-breaking performance.

“I was hitting all my dives until the second to last dive,” Bingham said. “I didn’t hit it, but I hit the last dive. So I was pretty sure it was going to happen.”

What made breaking the school record even more special was that Weeks also was a gymnast at the same gymnastics club team – Gymagine – that Bingham has been a member of for the last seven years.

The Kamiak senior can thank her gymnastics coach for suggesting that she look into diving when she entered high school.

“My coach’s daughter had done diving in high school,” Bingham said. “She told me about it and I wanted to give it a try. And once I tried it I loved it. I kept doing it.”

The mental part of the sport is what Bingham loves the most.

“It’s a mental challenge as well as a physical,” she said. “It’s super mental. Gymnastics is mental, but diving is like 90 percent mental.”

Before each dive Bingham clears her mind of all distractions and get into her zone.

“I try to focus on my approaches because the approaches affect the whole dive,” Bingham said. “If you have a good approach, the dive usually is good.”

Unlike the previous three years, diving has been sort of a solitary pursuit. Bingham is the only diver at Kamiak this season. There are pluses and minuses to that.

“It’s kind of nice because it’s like a private lesson every day,” Bingham said of her practices with diving coach Frank McCallick. “But then it’s also a little bit lonely at times. I miss having diving buddies.”

Bingham typically practices anywhere from 30 to 40 dives at each practice.

“I usually go through my 11 dive list twice and work on the ones I have problems with,” she said.

Last summer Bingham went to a diving camp at the Air Force Academy and the coaches there were especially encouraging to her. Bingham learned some new dives and had the opportunity to try the 3-meter board (high school is 1 meter).

“It was really fun to try the higher boards and do a little bit of platform,” Bingham said. “That’s when I decided I want to dive at a Division II college.”

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