With just one dive left to try to break the county record last night, Wantagh seventh-grader Andrew Capobianco calmly walked down the diving board. He jumped, flipped, twisted and barely made a splash when he landed in the pool, but he drew a loud eruption from the spectators who witnessed history.
With a score of 518.35, Capobianco became the first seventh-grader to win the Nassau diving championship and he did so in grand fashion, surpassing the county record of 494.85 set by Bellmore-Merrick's Rob Siracusano in 1990.
"I've coached a lot of divers, and my main goal is for them to do the best they can," Wantagh coach George Taylor III said. "I believed in him, and I couldn't be happier for him. He's by far the best I've coached at that age."
Capobianco has only been diving for a little over a year, and he went undefeated this season in Wantagh's 10 dual meets. He's already the county's top diver, and he still has five years left to compete.
"I wanted this record a lot, so I'm really happy," Capobianco said. "I want to keep setting the record every year."
Manhasset senior Peter Magliulo, who won the diving title as a sophomore, finished second for the second straight year with a score of 439.85. Freshman Moustafa Ibrahim of Bellmore-Merrick took third with a 403.15.
Divers must score at least 420 points to qualify for the state meet.
Capobianco led all divers in total points after five dives and he never looked back. He scored more than 55 points on back-to-back dives to break the record.
Taylor is also a well-known Long Island club coach and he's had many champions. He said once he saw Capobianco, he knew he could be great.
"When I first looked at him, I knew he had good potential," Taylor said. "From there we worked on his form, his flexibility and his approach and he continued to improve."
With the state championships now on the horizon, Capobianco remained humble in setting his goals for the meet.
"I'm just hoping to finish in the top 10; there's a lot of tough competition up there," he said.
But Taylor is confident in his chances. "We're looking to win states," Taylor said. "And if he doesn't get it this year, I have five more years with him."