Auburn Mountainview's Max Barton takes the plunge for his team

Max Barton dives off the springboard prior to a competition at Rogers High School in Puyallup. - Shawn Skager/Reporter
Max Barton dives off the springboard prior to a competition at Rogers High School in Puyallup.
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Reporter

Things were looking good for the Auburn Mountainview boys swimming and diving team coming into the 2012-13 season.

Except for one little problem – no divers.

Sure, the team boasted a strong core of returning swimmers – including Cameron Lindsay, the reigning Washington State 3A 100-yard backstroke champion – but with their top diver from last season injured, the Lions were looking at losing points in the diving competition at every meet.

“Vitaly Borodulin suffered a concussion early in the year,” coach Justin Pritchard said. “He was practicing at the start of the year and then got hurt. We weren’t sure if he was going to come back this season at all.”

Enter sophomore Max Barton.

“We put the word out, and a bunch of swimmers that were just going to be swimmers decided to come out,” Pritchard said. “And Max stepped up and learned six dives in two days. He actually took first place in our first meet, because he was the only diver. That was really exciting.”

According to Barton, who turned out for swimming for the first time this year just to get faster for water polo, it was simply a matter of helping out the team.

“Our coach told us we were going to lose a lot of points without a diver, so a couple of my friends and me started diving to help the team out,” Barton said. “It stuck with me and I really liked it, so I kept doing it.”

Barton said he immediately began working with Auburn Mountainview’s diving coach, Brandon Schreib, to get down the six dives needed to compete.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Barton learned the six dives in just two days.

“It was rushed but I was surprised by how hard it actually wasn’t,” Barton said. “I thought it would take me a couple of weeks.”

Although Barton said he had messed around on the spring board before, taking the plunge just for fun, he’d never actually tried to flip or dive backwards.

“At first it was easy with just front dive and front

front flip. I could do those,” Barton said. “Then [Schreib] had me do a back dive and back flip, and I couldn’t do anything backwards, not even on a trampoline.”

After mastering the backwards dives, Barton said, he began working on the more complicated dives.

“Then I started working on more than one flip, like the forward one and a half,” Barton said. “I flopped a few times, but after a while it got easier with practice.”

Barton said he threw himself wholeheartedly into the practice regime, putting in two hours a day polishing his technique when there were no meets.

“What he did was pretty big,” Pritchard said. “We were going to get rid of diving all together. Here we had a diving coach but no divers. But they all stepped up, and Max is the one that has gotten the furthest so far. I think (he can move on to postseason). We’ve still got a whole month.”

Although Borodulin has now returned for the Lions, Barton said he plans to continue to dive.

“Our school record for diving, according to the board, is 170,” he said. “And I’m looking to beat that record. My best is 124.”

Auburn Mountainview AT-A-GLANCE

• COACH: Justin Pritchard, seventh season

• TOP SWIMMERS: Cameron Lindsay, senior, 100 back, 200 IM and relays; Colin Lempert, senior, 50 free and relays; Luke Lavine, sophomore, relays; John Kyle Davis, 100 back and relays; and Paul Whisman, senior, relays.

• OUTLOOK: The Lions return a strong core of experienced swimmers, including Lindsay, who captured first-place in the 100 back at this past season’s Washington State 3A championships with a 51.29-second time. Lindsay also placed sixth in the 200 IM with a 1:59.81 time. The team’s 200 medley relay team also competed at state last year and has already notched a state qualifying time this season.“We have a lot of speed at the top,” Pritchard said. “It’s the first time we’ve qualified for a relay during the season. Across the board we’re very fast.”



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