THORNTON – The diving competition at the 2022 girls swimming and diving state championships was something to behold, with a trio of senior divers going back and forth with one another for 11 dives.
Arvada West’s Geneva Pauly, Lewis-Palmer’s Dahlia Allen and Regis Jesuit’s Chiara Lopach were neck-and-neck until the very end. Eventually, Pauly pulled ahead and was in a comfortable position with only Allen, the defending champion, remaining to complete the competition as the final diver.
Pauly’s lead was 68.6, a seemingly impossible margin to overcome with a single. Allen’s final dive was spectacular and scored a 60, which was the highest single-dive score of the competition but still fell just short of Pauly’s total.
At the end of a thrilling event, the diving gold went home with Pauly.
“It was a really tight competition but I came in with a positive attitude, just wanting to have fun and not focusing too much on winning or losing,” Pauly said. “Honestly, that was one of the best meets of my life. I wasn’t really expecting that because every single time you mess up one dive or some are great and some are mediocre. I’m really proud of how I did and how everyone else did. Everyone was really diving beautifully.”
Pauly’s final score was 487.50 and Allen finished with a 478.90. Lopach was third at 462.25, Denver East’s Morgan Manley was fourth at 435.50 and Ralston Valley’s Jordan Okomoto came in fifth with a score of 431.50.
Already with the gold medal in hand, Pauly was voted 5A Diver of the Year by the coaches. The award is often handed out based on the diver’s sportsmanship as much as their performance.
“I’m really proud and very happy that the coaches chose me,” Pauly said.
For Allen, coming finishing runner-up and falling just short of her title defense was obviously not what she had hoped for. But to finish her high school career with the top-scoring dive – an Inward 1.5 somersault pike – at state was some consolation.
“Ever since I started diving, that dive has always been my best show dive,” Allen said. “So, I just got up there at the end and knew I needed to do it. It was definitely stressful because of how close it was, but I just tried my best to be solid do the best I could.”
Arapahoe’s Erin Gleason (431.40) was sixth, Lewis-Palmer’s Ashley Griffth (430.50) was seventh, Regis Jesuit’s Mia Henniger (422.20) was eighth, Regis Jesuit’s Sarah Mann (403.15 was ninth and Cherry Creek’s Brooke Bennett (401.30) was 10th†
Regis Jesuit head coach Taylor Roberts was voted 5A Coach of the Year.