THORNTON — Typically one would get a stern warning about running on a pool deck, but the folks at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center gave Fairview's Duncan Lester a pass on Friday night.
After performing his final dive of the Mountain Range Mustang Invite, first place well in hand among the 20 divers, Lester made a bee line for the south wall of the complex just so he could get a glimpse of the VMAC pool records that are posted high above the pool — and rather strikingly, at that.
The pool may not be that old, but with all the state competitions that have been held there the records were legit. And with his impressive 11-dive score of 585.95 points, Lester will now have his name up on the board representing the Knights.
The week just keeps getting better for Lester, who on Tuesday set a FHS 6-dive record against Boulder.
"After eight dives, I really knew that I had the potential to break it and the record-holder (Smoky Hill graduate Devin Bellamy) is actually a good friend of mine," Lester said after the night had wrapped up. "I saw that I could break it, and that became my goal those last three dives.
"When I saw I got it, it just meant a ton. Really, it's just great preparation for state, a good confidence booster for the upcoming meets."
There were not many Class 5A divers in the 20-man field on Friday, but there were some excellent Class 4A divers including Longmont's Cooper Welsh and the Silver Creek duo of Ben Willett and Ashton Hubert.
As far as scores, Lester was isolated at the top the entire night. But he had reason to push, knowing the record of 585.40 was within reach.
His 10th dive — a reverse two-and-a-half with a 3.0 degree of difficulty — was executed well. His 11th and final dive, though, was tougher three-and-a-half tuck and came up a little short.
"The second to last dive went well for me, so I knew I had a little bit of wiggle room. But I made it way too close with that last dive. I just continue to get a harder list and harder dives ... this was a perfect opportunity to try it."
Lester set the bar high, but the scores at the meet were outstanding overall. Hubert counted himself among those who were very proud of the results, scoring 389.20 points for a ninth place finish.
Hubert finished 17th last year at the 4A state meet, a tough pill to swallow as that equates to being the closest to making the finals. That, along with not being able to compete much as a freshman due to a broken collarbone, has given the Raptors junior plenty of motivation to work on the dives he knows.
The meet included several divers who did place in 4A last year, and Hubert got a good idea of where he stood and what he wants to do over the next month. He also said Willett, who placed 12th on Friday with 370.75 points, has followed a similar path this year and has been a great motivator.
As a point of reference, both Hubert's and Willett's Friday scores would have scored team points at state in 2016.
"I've been working on consistency, and I'm not too worried about my (degree of difficulty) but just working on getting my dives much better," Hubert said. "These 11-dive meets are great, and the competition is really good. I really felt good about tonight, just working on breaking 400 points."
The Trojans' Welsh, who finished seventh at state last year, had a stellar performance on Friday, as well. The junior kept pace with the top five in the finals, placing sixth with 443.55 points.
Mountain Range Mustang Invite Dive Only
Diving — 1. Duncan Lester, Fairview, 585.95*!; 2. Jacob Bielmaier, Estes Park, 488.00*; 3. Colin Soguero, Estes Park, 486.80*; 6. Cooper Welsh, Longmont, 443.55*; 8. Ashton Hubert, Silver Creek, 389.20*; 11. Ben Willett, Silver Creek, 370.75*; 16. Ethan Elterich, Monarch, 239.55; 19. Noel Semanik, Monarch, 173.75.
* — denotes state-qualifying mark