The swimming hall is quiet right before each diver takes a leap into the pool. After the dive is complete, claps and cheers commence but none echo off the walls louder than when Huntington senior Patricia Arceri plunges into the water.
Her entourage of family and friends has plenty to cheer about. For the second year in a row, Arceri is the girls Suffolk County diving champion, scoring a total of 532.90 Friday at Hauppauge High School and earning a spot in the state tournament Nov. 17 and 18 in Ithaca.
“I love hearing my family. It helps keep my motivation and confidence up during the meet,” Arceri said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Arceri started the meet off strong with all five judges giving her a score of 9 on her first dive. She was the only diver at the meet to receive a score of 10. On her eighth dive, she received three 10s.
“The win is great considering this season I had a setback and hurt my ear. I was out for three weeks and I came back stronger and harder,” Arceri said.
Emma Casey, from Hauppauge, placed second in the meet with a score of 497.15. She also earned a spot at states.
“I actually didn’t think I was going to make states this year,” Casey chuckled. “This past week, practice was a little rocky. It was really nice to go out there and hit all my dives.”
Casey’s high score (27) was on her eighth dive, a back dive she says she never does well in.
Hayley Beutel, swimming for Smithtown, placed third with a score of 463.85.
Beutel, Casey and Arceri were the only girls to qualify for states at this meet. Arceri placed fifth last year and she’s ready to win it all this year.
“I have a great feeling [about states]. I work really hard and I feel like I get what I deserve,” Arceri said.