Jillian Rastello won her second straight Suffolk County diving championship, but she continues to work for more.
"I don’t think of it as ‘I’m the best’ because I’m not," Rastello said. "There’s so many better divers than me, the Olympics just happened and I can only go up from here. I strive to be the best that I can and I hope to get better and I want to get better."
The Sayville senior competing for Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point won the Suffolk girls diving championship with a score of 491.25 at Hauppauge High School Thursday night.
She improved from her championship-winning score of 475.05 in April and Rastello set the program diving record with a score of 569.35 during the season.
"It means a lot ot me," Rastello said. "I’ve worked very hard and I’m very dedicated to the sport. I dive 25 hours a week, double practices. Over the summer I had a lot of meets, so I got used to diving at the atmosphere of higher levels."
Rastello edged out Natalia Chornomidza, of Lindenhurst, who had a score of 470.20. Chornomidza completed her final dive before Rastello finished her last dive, but the Sayville senior didn’t let the score she needed enter her mind.
"I don’t overthink," Rastello said. "When I’m diving, no thoughts are in my head. I’m not overthinking or anything like that. I try to stay focused."
Kelsey Kreuscher and Morgan Cassidy, both of Connetquot, finished third and fourth with state-qualfifying scores of 448.00 and 442.60, respectively. Lara Booth Alam (Connetquot) and Jessica Magee (Hauppauge/Smithtown) both posted state-qualifying times during the season.
The six divers will all compete at the state championships at Ithaca College November 19 at 3 p.m.
Last season’s Suffolk diving championships meant the end of the season for all divers involved due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But they are thankful for the opportunity to compete at the state’s top meet later in the month.
"I’m very excited," Rastello said. "I can’t wait to go to States and do the best I can with new people and new competition. I’m going to have a level head going in."