FEDERAL WAY - Fifteen months ago, John Meyer walked into the pool area and asked if anyone was tired of swimming laps.
Sophomore Michael Evans raised his hand.
“Good,” said Meyer, the River Ridge High diving coach, “then we’ll turn you into a diver.”
A three-sport athlete, Evans has the potential to be a state champion with year-round training, Meyer believes.
Evans, now a junior, is doing quite nicely as it is. He finished fourth in the one-meter diving competition at the Class 2A state boys swimming and diving championships Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center. A year earlier, he finished third.
“You really have to train year-round to be a state champion,” Meyer said. “Our biggest problem is that we don’t have a facility to train all year.
“Michael doesn’t do a lot of complicated dives with multiple twists, but it isn’t because he lacks the ability. He just doesn’t train enough.”
Sehome of Bellingham roared to its third straight 2A title behind the aptly-named Austin Fish, who set two individual meet records and was also part of a relay meet mark.
North Thurston finished 11th in the team standings.
Kamiak of Mukilteo claimed the 4A title, while Mercer Island rolled to the 3A crown.
Evans might not have volunteered to climb on the diving board in late 2009, but a serious shoulder injury he suffered in football a few months earlier was still bothering him as he reached his arms out to swim.
Aided by gymnastics lessons he had taken a few years earlier, and a lot of time spent on his backyard trampoline, Evans looked like a natural on the diving board.
“The most important part of diving is learning body control and knowing where you’re at in the air,” said Evans, who also plays soccer. “The time I spent in gymnastics really carried over. Not that diving is easy, but I was able to make the transition probably easier than most guys.”
Evans likes diving so much that it’s now his favorite sport.
“I’m hoping to dive in college,” he said.
Evans scored 312.4 points on 19 dives completed during the preliminary and final rounds, well behind champion Austin Fahrenholtz of Port Angeles (376.10) and runner-up Brian Drake of Squalicum (349.60) but not far from third-place Evan Quaschnik (329.6) of Sumner.
“I could see Michael moving up a couple notches next year,” Meyer said, “and if he were to train year-round, look out.”
North Thurston was led by its relay teams. The Rams’ 400-yard freestyle relay placed fifth and its 200 medley relay took sixth.
Junior Cameron Peterson, who swam on both relay squads, added a seventh in the 100 butterfly.
Senior Ethan Hollowell stole the show in the 3A meet.
By winning the 200 freestyle in a meet-record time of 1:38.18 and securing the 100 freestyle in 44.75, Hollowell became the first swimmer in state history to win eight events.
Capital’s best showing was a eighth from Jacob Williams in the 100 freestyle.
Snohomish’s Bryan Harvey was selected the 4A swimmer of the meet. He swam a near-perfect race to win the 100 butterfly in 49.63 and earn All-American status.
Harvey also won the 100 backstroke.