Camille Roberts inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. She was one well-executed dive away from winning both the Nassau girls diving title and a trip to the state championships in Ithaca.
Most in attendance at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow on Wednesday sat silently, waiting eagerly to see the Cold Spring Harbor freshman's head emerge from the water and her result to appear on the scoreboard.
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Roberts' coach, George Taylor III, erupted first. He clapped so hard it echoed, and he cheered so loudly you could have heard him in Suffolk.
Roberts had been awarded a 44.1 on a back 1.5 somersault with a half-twist -- a dive with a 2.1 degree of difficulty -- to clinch the title with a score of 449.85. She jumped high with her arms raised in triumph, a smile from ear to ear.
"It was one of my harder dives," Roberts said. "I knew I really had to go after it."
"I'm just really excited."
Taylor tried to explain his emotions. "This is so sweet," he said in a tone that sounded like a mix of exhaustion and jubilation. "I don't even know what to say."
Roberts was able to outlast East Meadow's Caroline Tighe (435), who qualified for states last week in the divisional round with a score of 449.7. It takes a 440 to qualify -- Roberts and Tighe are Nassau's only state representatives.
Massapequa's Sarah Woods (365.7), Wantagh's Gillian Chowske (353.65) and Long Beach's Meghan Maquet (350.55) round out the top five.
"Normally I don't look at my score the entire meet because it freaks me out," said Roberts, who led from the first cut after five rounds. "But I saw my score on my second-to-last dive and said, 'OK, I need to do well on my last dive to make it to states.' I wasn't thinking about my place. I just wanted to make it to states."