Each year, the Fishers Diving Regional proves to be one of the toughest in the state and, while down slightly, this season should be no different.
Three of the top eight scores in the state during the regular season belong to divers competing in Fishers on Tuesday, one season after producing four of the top five finishers at the state finals.
"There are several clubs in the area that have divers that dive year-round," Fishers diving coach Kristy Ford said. "These divers are national-caliber divers and they compete at a high level."
Ford also noted Indianapolis is known for its diving tradition, home to the IUPUI Natatorium and numerous Olympic-level divers, including 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist David Boudia. Indianapolis-area divers will also be competing at regionals in Plainfield and Bloomington North.
While there is typically a certain level of stress for divers looking to advance, Ford said there appears to be a clear-cut eight divers who should advance, barring unforeseen circumstances. The top eight advance to the state meet, which begins Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium with the preliminaries, and the finals on Saturday.
"In the past it hasn't been like that," Ford said. "There would have been a slight margin separating eighth and ninth."
Ford added that the tough competition typically leads to attempting safer dives, avoiding more difficult selections that could have a higher probability of failure and leading to a drastic score drop in a tightly contested field.
Noblesville's Meme Sharp finished second at the state finals last season and won her school's sectional Saturday with a 486.75, the highest incoming score to the Fishers Regional. It was three points higher than Fishers freshman Cortnee Williams used to win her sectional. Williams beat Sharp at the Hoosier Crossroads Conference meet.
"We'll be looking for Cortnee to improve on a couple of missed dives in the water and we'll hope to get to 500 points," Ford said.
Last season the regional produced state champion Shelby Bartlett of Fishers and runner-up Sharp.