Denfeld News

Feb. 20, 2009
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld diver practices 'til perfection
By Rick Weegman

When Aaron Stinson attempted one of his toughest dives at practice Wednesday — a reverse somersault with 1½ twists — he hit his foot on the end of the diving board at Morgan Park Middle School.

So what was the Duluth Denfeld sophomore’s reaction?

“I got out of the pool and did [the dive] again,” he said.

And did it perfectly the second time.

“He’s not going to quit until he gets it right,” Duluth diving coach Beth Moeller said. “He got back up [on the board] and did another five of them. Most kids would say, ‘I’m not doing that again.’ But he’s so intense when he’s at practice, and he’s after perfection.”

Stinson’s coaches say he has vastly improved since the beginning of the season and could take one of the four state meet qualifying spots at next week’s Section 4A swimming and diving meet in Grand Rapids. He ranks second among Northeastern Minnesota divers with 346.2 points for 11 dives and won the prestigious Taconite Invitational last weekend in Aurora.

“The competition for those four spots in our section is intense,” Moeller said.

The main reason for Stinson’s improvement is his tireless work ethic in the pool. Duluth swim coach Sandy Verry said he has to kick Stinson out of the pool every day.

“After 2½ hours every night, we want to go home,” Verry chuckled.

Moeller, Duluth’s diving coach since 2003, says Stinson’s dedication is unquestioned and his timing is unique.

“He lives, breathes and sleeps diving,” Moeller said. “His mom says he dreams about it, and he watches a lot of [diving] on YouTube when he’s not at practice. He enjoys the sport, and it shows.

“Diving needs to be second nature. Your physical response, because it happens so quickly in the air, needs to be downloaded in your body where your body just reacts.”

Stinson, who began the sport just two years ago and doesn’t turn 16 until Saturday, estimates he has added at least eight new dives to his repertoire since the start of the season. He’ll use the maximum 9.0 degree of difficulty for his five voluntary dives at the section meet, including the 2.4 reverse twisting somersault that he nailed after hitting the board on his first attempt.

Stinson says fear still overcomes him when he attempts a new dive. But, like Wednesday, it doesn’t last long.

“After you do it once, usually the fear just goes away,” he said. “After I do it once, I know that it’s fun to do it again.”

Aaron Stinson File
Prep status: Denfeld sophomore
Age: 15
Sports: Diving, football
GPA: 3.3
Family: Father, Terry; mother, Debbie; brothers, Richard, 21; Robert, 23
Pet: Winney, a black Labrador
Plans: Wants to study marine biology in college in California

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