The record book never stood a chance once Patrick Carter stepped on a diving board.
Carter entered this season as the six-dive and 11-dive Suffolk County record holder. The West Islip senior also captured his first state championship and fourth county title as a junior. Suffolk never had a five-time county champion, according to Suffolk boys swimming coordinator Gary Beutel.
But that’s no longer the case because Carter won his fifth Suffolk title with a county-record score of 625.35 Thursday at Hauppauge High School. The score is the total of Carter’s 11 dives.
“That was something I was really thinking about this season,” Carter said. “Usually I wouldn’t be thinking about records as much but I knew that going into the season I wanted to end on a high note and I wanted to leave something with the county.”
Carter broke his own 6-dive record earlier this season with a 395.47. When he won his first county championship in eighth grade after placing third in seventh grade, he thought he could achieve something special.
“When I won it I was like ‘Wow, I really have a shot to do something pretty cool here,’ ” Carter said. “So to get that done with the help of my coaches, teammates and my family, I’m just really proud.”
Carter thanked West Islip coach Bob Kollar, diving coach Karyn Storan and his club coach Zhihua Hu, as he does in every interview. And for all the admiration Carter gives his coaches, they feel it toward him, too. Kollar said he’s never seen anything like what Carter’s accomplished.
“I think it’s very rare to see a child with such talent and drive,” Storan said. “He took what he had and worked at it and that’s what took him to the next level. To be able to be given something, a gift, a talent, and use it and work hard to the next level, that’s the secret. I’ve coached a lot of athletes with one or the other. Never with both.”
Brett Hebert of Harborfields-Huntington placed second (545.90) and will compete at the state championship March 3 at 1 p.m. at the Nassau Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park.
“I see Pat every day and I see Pat’s work ethic every day and to me, how hard Pat works is something pretty unparalleled among everyone I know,” said Hebert, heading to his fourth state championship. “And to see Pat work as hard as he does every day kind of inspires me to work as hard as he does.”
And Carter’s not done yet as he hopes to be the state’s first back-to-back winner since 2008 following his record performance.
“It feels really good,” Carter said. “I know when I won it in eighth grade that was something I thought of and I wanted to do it. So to be able to get it done makes me speechless.”