When he hopped on the board for his first SJISA 6-Dive Championships two years ago, John Furner was the only diver out of 29 competitors representing Haddonfield.
Two years later, Furner — now a junior — was back at the 6-Dive Championships last Thursday seeking first place in the boys B Division for a second straight year. But he wasn’t the only Bulldawg there.
Haddonfield now had four divers, with freshman Charlie Webb joining Furner in the boys B Division and sophomores Kelsie Waddington and Kathryn Hoover competing in the girls B Division. It was the most divers Haddonfield had entered in the competition in five years.
“This is the first time I feel like Haddonfield divers were truly like a team,” Furner said. “We were all very close today. It was very team-like.”
The Haddonfield divers didn’t just show up last Thursday, they shined on the diving board. Furner and Webb took first and second place, respectively, in the boys B division, while Waddington and Hoover were the top two finishers in the girls B division. Out of both divisions, Furner had the highest score for the boys and Webb was the third highest. The story repeated itself on the girls’ side: Waddington was the top-scoring girl and Hoover was third.
Congratulations to Haddonfield divers Kathryn Hoover, Kelsie Waddington, John Furner & Charlie Webb on their first and second place finish for girls and boys at the Coaches Invitational! pic.twitter.com/TSmsttBa7H
— Haddonfield Swimming (@HMHS_swim) January 17, 2020
“You have to be positive,” Waddington said about her solid performance last week. “I think we all did that today.”
The four Haddonfield divers share a tight bond in what is mostly an individual sport. Waddington and Hoover have competed on the same diving team outside of high school. All four divers also compete with each other regularly in both high school meets in the winter as well as swim club meets during the summer.
“The one thing I do like about this is that we all know each other personally,” Furner noted. “We definitely have a stronger bond than other teams.”
All four Haddonfield divers had impressive performances in the first big high school meet of the year. On the boys side, Furner finished his afternoon with a score of 254.8, coming up about seven points short of the meet record set two years ago by Dillon Hall of Cherry Hill West. Webb had an impressive showing with a score of 196.65, the highest among the five freshmen, male and female, competing in the event.
On the girls side, Waddington won the 6-Dive Championships for the first time. Her score of 234.80 was a significant improvement from the 201.95 mark she finished with in the same meet last year. Hoover also showed improvement, scoring a 186.65 after totaling 163.50 in last year’s meet.
When asked the reason for their progress, all four divers talked about improved consistency and maintaining a positive attitude. But there was one other factor they felt was crucial to the team’s success: having the support of fellow teammates.
“It makes you dive better to have support from someone from your own team,” Waddington said.
“It’s nice to have people that you can connect with,” Hoover added.
Haddonfield is a team to watch this year as well as in the future. All four Haddonfield divers will compete in Thursday’s Jim Roach 11-Dive Championships. Furner, Waddington and Hoover all qualified for states last year and will look to return to that meet again this February.
Additionally, Haddonfield’s team could grow even larger in upcoming years. All four of Haddonfield’s divers will be back again next season and Webb noted there are more divers who will be arriving at the high school over the next couple of years.