Novi senior makes history as school’s first diving state champion

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Novi Note | Published December 7, 2023

 Novi senior diver Lorelai Maisano and Novi swimming head coach Ken Stark celebrate Maisano’s state title win at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 State Diving Championship Nov. 18 at Eastern Michigan University.

Novi senior diver Lorelai Maisano and Novi swimming head coach Ken Stark celebrate Maisano’s state title win at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 State Diving Championship Nov. 18 at Eastern Michigan University.

Photo provided by Ken Stark

NOVI — Novi senior diver Lorelai Maisano has etched her name in the Wildcats history books.

Maisano competed in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 State Diving Championship Nov. 18 at Eastern Michigan University, where she took state runner-up last year, and a motivated Maisano was ready to achieve something that had never been accomplished in Novi history.

Scoring 417.60 points, 4.15 points ahead of the runner-up, Maisano became the first diving state champion in school history. Maisano is also the 6-dive and 11-dive record holder for Novi.

“It’s super cool,” Maisano said. “I’ve been working really hard for this, so it’s really cool to be able to accomplish this.”

Maisano jumped to state runner-up last season after finishing 16th in the 2021 state finals, and she continued to improve each year.

Novi diving coach Don Mason said Maisano’s determination was the key to her success this season.

“Each year, we see a difference in the athletes, and with each year she became more willing to do the little things, the hard things and the boring things that it takes to be a champion,” Mason said. “She’s a very hard worker and she’s very deserving. She had to overcome a lot of obstacles, and she put a lot of time into it. It’s rewarding to see her succeed in this.”

Mason said the judges were looking for dives under pressure and the degree of difficulty of the dive, and Maisano excelled in both during her 11 dives. The 11 dive consists of five voluntary dives and six optional dives from the five diving groups, which include forward, back, reverse, inward and twisting. The voluntary dives consist of one from each diving group, the diver’s choice, while the optional dives are six different dives with all five groups represented, and one group represented twice.

Maisano said she stuck with the dives she was comfortable with, and it paid off.

“I’d definitely say my fronts and my inwards,” Maisano said, naming her best dives. “They’re in my first five dives. All my first five are front and inwards, and it just kind of gives me a little confidence boost starting off the meets with them, because they’re my best and most comfortable group that I’m super consistent in.”

An inward dive is when a diver has her back toward the water and springs backward while rotating forward toward the diving board, and a front dive is when the diver faces the water and jumps from the diving board, rotating the body forward.

A four-year diver at Novi, Maisano ended her senior season undefeated, winning the Oakland County Championship, the Kensington Lakes Activities Association, and the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association meets this season.

Maisano will continue her diving career at Cleveland State University, where she plans to study nursing.

Between the nursing program and meeting the team, Maisano said Cleveland State was a perfect fit.

“Their nursing program is amazing, and the coaches and the team were super welcoming,” Maisano said. “I just kind of knew this was the team I wanted to be on and the atmosphere they provided.”