Half Hollow Hills' Ryan Savit often says that when things are going well he's diving against himself. He can block out his other competitors' scores, triumphs and failures and instead focus on just what he has to do to emerge a champion.
Things were going well Saturday for Ryan Savit.
Savit scored a 479.65 to earn a berth to the state championship and take first place in the Suffolk diving finals, his first county title.
Hauppauge's Leroy Farrell (419) took second and Sachem East's Anthony Stefanelli (401.20) took third in a spirited competition for runner-up that see-sawed most of the meet. Both will join Savit at states.
"We've been saying all year that he doesn't go against anybody else in the meets," Hills diving coach Chris Blumenstetter said. "Today he was trying to beat his top score, and he did that. So he beat himself. That's what we're happy with. If he beats himself every meet, the rest of the stuff is going to take care of itself."
Savit scored over 56 points on three of his 11 dives and averaged a 43.6. He was in the lead from his first jump off the board and never looked back. After five dives he held a 44-point lead over Stefanelli, and that number never again went below 40.
But Savit has been the favorite before. After a superb sophomore season in 2010, he finished third at counties with a 416.15, more than 20 points off the lead.
The regular season played out in nearly the same way for Savit in 2011. His goal for dual-meet competition was to break 300 in the six-dive contests and he did just that, edging Stefanelli 306.81-301.90 in the final meet of the year. But heading into yesterday's Suffolk showdown, he was determined not to let history repeat itself.
"I think this year I'm much more experienced with my diving," Savit said. "I don't let one bad dive affect me like it did last year."
Case in point: In his eighth dive of the day, with a 2.3-degree of difficulty, Savit scored just a 33.35, his second lowest total of the meet. His lowest was his final dive, which had just a 1.7-degree of difficulty.
But instead of getting flustered by the misstep, Savit responded on his next chance by scoring a 44.1, his fourth best dive of the day.
"He was much more loose all day today [than last year],"Blumenstetter said. "He was a lot more focused. We kept it very light. We kept joking. Didn't really talk about diving between dives. And he kind of just felt better all day."
Especially considering the guy he was going against was on his way to a county crown.