Merrimack diver first again
Friday, February 22, 2013
David Pfeifer, of Merrimack and a diver on the Bishop Guertin High School swim team has, for the third year, won first place at the New Hampshire State Championships for his outstanding diving skills.
In the New Hampshire Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships held at UNH-Durham on Feb. 8-9, Pfeifer scored a 467.35 points to earn him the coveted boy’s title and the state record for diving.
Pfeifer, a junior, started his diving career when he entered his freshman year at Bishop Geurtin. Not being a member of a team sport and sensing that he might enjoy diving, he went to one practice diving session, then anther, and that was enough to get him hooked on the sport. Prior to diving, he had been a highly decorated team gymnast from age 3-13.
“It was a crazy decade of hard work, but the gymnastics helped me have knowledge of my body and its position in space,” Pfeifer said. “It’s definitely helped me with my diving.”
And while being on a gymnastics team may have seemed “crazy” with respect to time and effort, being a dedicated diver seems to be even crazier. Pfeifer practices with the school swim team three times a week during the season, but on top of that he also practices his diving twice a week at Boston University and twice a week at Charles River Diving at Harvard, where he is coached by Keith and Agnus Miller. This sometimes means that he can have two diving sessions a day.
When you tack on an hour commute each way for the practices near Boston where he is in the water for a few hours, what you get is an athlete who loves his sport.
To put that kind of time in, you have to have incredible trust in your coaches. Part of his Harvard practices includes water time and practicing on a trampoline attached to a harness and dry board jumping onto a mat.
Pfiefer speaks highly of his Miller coaching team.
“They took me in when I was rough, stripped everything down to the basics, and rebuilt me to be more technical,” he said.
Pfeifer competes on the 1-meter board and 3-meter platform, the latter being his favorite event because it allows him more “room to flip.”
“I love being able to twist in the air” he said of his favorite dives, the front 2.5 pike, and the front 1.5 with two twists.
And that’s a good thing, because the sport of diving is all about twists and turns. When asked about diving in comparison to his gymnastics training, Pfeifer explained that diving required a “lot more patience.”
“First, the board is more flexible than anything in gymnastics. Unlike gymnastics where you go out and sometimes run to do the skill, in diving you have to settle down and wait, often making tiny corrections at the last minute,” he said.
Pfeifer hopes to continue diving in college, where he plans on studying to be an orthopedic surgeon. Now he plans to continue with his grueling schedule, helping out his teammates, and competing whenever he can.