In high school swimming and diving, an athlete is generally a swimmer or a diver.
Rarely are the two intertwined. And even rarer are two athletes in the same program who are both swimmers and divers.
That is exactly the case for the Tallmadge program this season.
Junior Angelo Miller and sophomore Kate Archer both swim and dive for the Blue Devils. What makes it even more remarkable is the fact that neither Miller nor Archer had any competitive swimming or diving experience before this season.
“Angelo and Kate have put in so much work to be able to do an entire sport in one season and do it well,” said Tallmadge head coach Kaela Long. “It’s crazy to think that these kids didn’t know how to dive before the season, and now they can make six dives right. Not only that, but they are willing and able to be taken aside and put into swimming events as well. It’s a huge commitment to both swimming and diving.”
In just his second meeting of the season, Miller took first place in diving with 127.85 points on January 12 in Tallmadge’s 98-71 loss to Suburban League American Conference rival Kent Roosevelt.
“Angelo did a really good job,” Long said. “He got sixes on most of his dives and he pushed himself really hard. While he was warming up, it was funny because he would do a dive and I would say, ‘Oh my gosh, Angelo, that was awesome. Well done!’ And then he’d say, “Kaela, that wasn’t right!” And I’d say, ‘It was good for me.’ And he’d say, ‘No, that wasn’t right, that wasn’t right. I have to get better.’”
During Miller’s first game of the season in Cuyahoga Falls, one of the Blue Devils swimmers had a medical emergency and had to leave the game.
“Two of our relays — the 200-meter medley and 200 freestyle — were compromised because we didn’t have anyone to swim in those relays,” Long said. “Those relays would have to be cut, and what a bummer that would have been. It would have been devastating. We asked Angelo to swim in those relays. He borrowed someone’s goggles, jumped into the pool and swam. He didn’t complain either.”
Miller did well enough in those two relays that he is now a fixture on those relay teams. In the loss to Kent Roosevelt, he helped the 200 freestyle relay to third place with a time of 2 minutes and 5.06 seconds. He swam the freestyle of the 200 medley relay, which finished with a time of 2:19.44 but was disqualified.
“Angelo did extremely well,” said the coach. “In the 200 medley relay, he tried a flip turn, and it was actually pretty good. He had never practiced it consistently. He certainly put everything he had into those events. It’s crazy because he just showed up, and he has so many natural abilities. He just swam and went extremely fast in both relays.
‘He can’t go back now. Maybe he should buy himself some glasses.’
Meanwhile, Archer finished fourth with 146.4 points diving in Tallmadge’s 96-79 loss to Kent Roosevelt.
“Kate has been diving really well,” Long said. “This was only her second encounter with diving. She has been a very valuable asset to the team. We definitely needed her.”
Archer finished fourth in both the 50 freestyle (35.31) and 100 breaststroke (1:39.39), both personal bests.
“Kate did a really good job,” Long said. “The 100 breaststroke was a stressful event. She was very close to the girl next to her. They knocked her out by 0.2 seconds, so that was a very, very close race. ”
Archer was also part of the Blue Devils relay team that finished in second place in the 400 freestyle.