SOMERS, N.Y. – Many school-aged kids anticipate summer break as a time to wind down, go on family vacations and spend time with friends.
But for Jay and Julia Wilkinson, it’s a time to dominate.
The Somers siblings have spent their past five Julys swimming and diving for the Division 1 Northern Westchester Swimming Conference. All month, they train and compete with the Yorktown Swim and Dive Team, jumping in the water before many people get out of bed.
Having trained all year with a USA Diving and AAU-sanctioned coach, Michael Darland, the siblings were eager to show off their new abilities.
Yorktown went undefeated thanks to Jay, 14, and Julia, 12, who won first place in all five dual meets against Pound Ridge, Willowbrooke, Chappaqua, Briarcliff and Katonah.
Along the way, Julia, participating in the 13-and-under age group, scored a 133.75, breaking a long-standing dive record set by Katie Bress in 2006.
At the Division 1 Dive Championship, held in Shrub Oak, they both took first place in their age groups. With the wins, they represented Division 1 at the All-Star Championship held in Lewisboro, where Julia won first place, beating divers from five other divisions. Jay placed second.
The Winning Continues
Jay and Julia also competed in the Westchester County Diving Championships, held at the Lake Isle Club in White Plains.
Competing against more than 50 teams, Jay won first place in his age group (14-17) with a score of 161.90. Julia (13U) finished in second place with a score of 159.00.
The siblings performed some impressive dives this summer.
Jay completed the Forward 1 1/2 Somersault Pike, the Reverse 1 1/2 Somersault Tuck, and the Forward 1 Somersault Full Twist on the 1-meter springboard.
Julia took it a step further, completing a Forward 2 Somersault Pike (also known as the Front Double) and a Back 1 1/2 Somersault Pike, both with Degrees of Difficulty of 2.3.
The scores a diver gets from the three judges are added up and multiplied by the dive’s Degree of Difficulty.
“It was challenging at times because some of the boards were not as bouncy as I’m used to and it made it more difficult to do my harder dives,” Julia said. “My coach, Beth [Kear], believed in me and told me I can do it. I was putting it all out there.”
Jay’s approach—scoring highly in the “easier” dives—also paid off.
Though the Wilkinsons are proud of their undefeated summer, they most enjoyed training with their teammates.
“We love our swim and dive family,” said Julia. “We only see them once a year during the summer and we have the best time!”
For their efforts, Jay and Julia shared Yorktown’s Most Valuable Diver Trophy.
They will continue their training in the fall.