Feb. 20, 2009
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
“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
“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
“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
Sports: Diving, football
Family: Father, Terry; mother, Debbie; brothers, Richard, 21; Robert,
Pet: Winney, a black Labrador
Plans: Wants to study marine biology in college in California