Western’s Murphy breaks state mark
November 26, 2012
Looking to reclaim her state champion crown, Allie Murphy went to work, as the diving competition began at the Nov. 17 Division 2 girls swimming and diving state finals at Oakland University.
The Walled Lake Western senior put on an impressive performance, even overcoming an early mishap, as she struck the board with her feet on one of her early attempts during the finals.
“I got really nervous,” Murphy said.
But she bounced back quickly, eventually finishing in first place and breaking the state record in the process.
“I had to focus on the next dive,” she said. “Had to brush it off. Had to realize I was still in the game.”
The state title is Murphy’s second D-2 diving championship. She also won the competition in 2010 but finished second in 2011. She said last year’s finals performance was disappointing, so she refocused heading into this year.
“I worked really hard after I got second to make sure I got (first) again this year,” Murphy said.
She said the pressure was tough to deal with last year, as the defending champion.
“I think it was hard coming back because already being state champion was really nerve-wracking,” she said.
Murphy’s diving coach at Western, Casey Guntzviller, said her concentration and focus was “really impressive” at the finals this year.
“Something as simple as hitting the board can set you off, but instead, she garnered her focus and strength and really finished strong,” he said.
Murphy admitted diving is a sport that isn’t simply based on athletics.
“A lot is mental, probably 50-50,” she said. “Mental can make you really good or screw you up.”
It’s for reasons such as her mental aptitude, focus and leadership that Guntzviller was happy to have Murphy in the program the past four years.
“Not just in her performance, but it’s being a teammate,” the coach said. “Leading the other divers, helping out, facilitating — she’s just a big part. She fostered a great environment to train in, so all my young divers, because we have a lot of sophomores and freshmen, she’s made them feel part of something more, which has been very special to see.”
And as for breaking the record, Murphy said she was looking up the record recently with her mom and figured she was capable of doing it and was excited to accomplish it.
“It feels great,” Murphy said. “I’ve been working hard all season to get state champion. The record is a bonus.”
She finished with a score of 442.80 points — just enough to edge the old record of 441.80 set by Holland’s Paige Kortman in 2009.
Murphy said at press time she was considering diving in college at Oakland, the University of Michigan or the University of Louisville.