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    West's Draper headed to regional meet after winning district diving title



    Victoria West's Mallory Draper dives  during the District 27-4A diving meet at the Victoria Aquatics Center. Draper was one of four divers to earn a spot at regionals on Friday after winning the girls title.

    Victoria West's Mallory Draper dives during the District 27-4A diving meet at the Victoria Aquatics Center. Draper was one of four divers to earn a spot at regionals on Friday after winning the girls title.

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    TOP: Bay City's Rob Haring spins in the air during one of his dives on Friday.

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    LEFT: West's Ann-Kathrin Roettchen dives during Friday's district meet at the Victoria Aquatics Center.

    District 27-4A Swimming & Diving Meet

    When: Saturday, 11 a.m.

    What: Swimming finals

    Where: Victoria Aquatics Center

    Teams: Victoria West, Victoria East, El Campo, Bay City, Wharton

    Mallory Draper was in the pool at the Victoria Aquatics Center on Friday afternoon dragging lane ropes.

    Quite the reward for winning the District 27-4A girls diving title.

    "Can you believe this?," a smiling Draper asked.

    Draper had good reason to celebrate after scoring a career-high 444.15 points and easily advancing to her third consecutive regional meet.

    "I kept focus the whole time," the Victoria West junior said. "I did all the dives the way I wanted to. There were a few that I didn't do as well as I did in practice. But it was amazing today."

    Draper was one of four divers participating in the meet, which concludes Saturday at 11 a.m. with the swimming competition.

    She easily outdistanced teammate Ann-Kathrin Roettchen, who was second with 265 points.

    Bay City's Rob Haring won the boys title with 249.35 points. Bay City's DaShawn Smith was second with 227.35 points.

    Draper received scores ranging from 17 to 21.5 on her 11 dives before a small crowd made up mostly of her teammates.

    "The crowd doesn't affect me," Draper said. "It's just nice to have all my teammates here cheering for me."

    Draper gave them a lot to cheer about, scoring 20 points or more on five dives.

    Her favorite was a back dive with one flip and 2.5 twists that has a degree of difficulty of 2.7.

    "I just really like that dive," Draper said. "It just looks so difficult to everyone and when I pull that one, everyone gets all happy. It's one of my hardest scoring dives and I get so many points for that dive and it's one of my favorites."

    Roettchen is an exchange student from Germany, who hadn't dived in competition until arriving in Victoria before the school year.

    "There was a lot more pressure in this meet because I really wanted to go to regional," Roettchen said. "But because it was at the home pool, it was definitely better. I'll do the same dives at regional, but hopefully better than today."

    Haring faced some tense moments after getting no score on his fifth dive. But he recovered and had his highest score on his 10th dive, which assured him a spot in the regional meet.

    "I guess when it comes down to it up on the board, you just kind of zone in on it," he said. "Staring at the board and into the water, you know you have to get it done. That definitely puts more pressure on you to get it done."

    Draper plans to start practicing for the Region VII-4A meet on Monday.

    She needs to finish in the top two to advance to the state meet for the third straight year.

    The regional meet will be held at Palo Alto College in San Antonio on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9.

    "It's actually at a different place this year," Draper said. "But it's a great advantage because that's the place I go to train with my coach at Palo Alto. I know the boards and I know exactly where to put the mat. I love the pool. It's an amazing facility."



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