New to diving, West junior to compete in weekend District 27-4A meet

Julie Garcia By Julie Garcia

Jan. 23, 2014 at 9:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2014 at 7:23 p.m.

After being sidelined by a reoccurring shoulder injury, Victoria West's Mason Carroll took up diving one month ago.

On Friday, he'll be competing in the diving portion of the District 27-4A swim meet at the Victoria Aquatic Center.

"It was kind of just thrown together at the last minute," Carroll, a junior at West, said. "I started a month ago because I wanted to try it. Being under the weather with swimming because of my shoulder, I took on diving, and here I am."

Carroll is no stranger to the pool. He is a natural "born-to-be-in-the-water" kid, said Daryl Sedlacek, boys swimming coach for Victoria East and West.

"He works hard at it and focuses a lot on technique and really wants to help his team any way he can," Sedlacek said about the junior he has coached for the past three seasons.

Along with the 1-meter springboard men's diving competition Friday, Carroll will be competing in the 100-meter butterfly, medley relay and 200-meter freestyle relay Saturday.

Carroll, who said he was raised in the water, started taking swimming lessons at age 3.

"My swim lessons teacher told me that I was going to be a swimmer one day," Carroll said. "We ran into each other about five years ago, and she was really impressed."

Carroll has been swimming for Victoria West since his freshman year but started competitively swimming for one of Victoria's Summer League teams when he was 8-years-old.

After a short stint in Little League baseball, Carroll focused his athletic energy on swimming.

"(My family) is really supportive," he said. "They took my swim lessons teacher's advice early on and knew I was going to be a swimmer, so they've really been pushing me in the right direction since then, and I thank them for that."

Sedlacek said that though Carroll has been out for most of this season, he is swimming as fast as he did in the beginning of the year.

"He's come back in the last couple of meets and is swimming really well," Sedlacek said. "It's still a little tight when he swims though, so I'm trying to not push him too much but at the same time prepare him for districts."

Carroll called the cause of his hurt shoulder as "over-exertion" from intense practices twice a day.

However, during his rest period, he kept in shape on land through running, jumping rope and weight training with resistance bands.

Then, he had an idea.

"He came up to me one day and said, 'Coach, I still want to help out my team - I'm going to try diving," Sedlacek said. "He's practiced a lot on his own; he's gone to Corpus to work with a coach down there."

Carroll's first meet was two weeks ago at Tuloso-Midway, and he placed fourth in the diving portion. Sedlacek said that if Carroll had not failed one dive, he likely would have medaled.

Entering the diving world has been a good experience, Carroll said. He met several divers at the Tuloso-Midway meet who he has stayed in touch with.

Prepping for Friday and Saturday's activities means early morning practice and "a lot of food."

"Swimmers are known to eat the house away," Carroll said, laughing.

This is the first year that Sedlacek has scheduled morning practices.

"I get the kids that really want to be here and want to do better," Sedlacek said. "When you get them in the afternoon, they're all tired from being at school, and I don't get their best effort. But in the morning, they're full of energy. I get their best effort, and it's really shown in the swim meets this year."

Carroll is one of two divers to compete in the district meet along with West teammate, Mallory Draper.

Draper has competed at the state diving competition for the last three years. Sedlacek is confident that her senior year will end at state.

"We've been sending her to some bigger meets where she'll have stiffer competition to try to prepare her for state," Sedlacek said. "Last year, everyone who was ahead of her at state was a senior, so hopefully, she'll move up into the medal category this year."



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