By GAVIN LAPAILLE
Gold Standard Sports Editor
There’s a group of Fort Knox High School students who may be looking a little black and blue lately. Four brave Eagles have joined the restart of a diving program at the high school, the first on Fort Knox in over 20 years.
None of the four had any diving experience prior to the start up of the team last month, leading to some unfortunate landings with bellies, backs and legs smacking the water.
“Lots of bruises and welts,” diving coach Col. Brynt Parmeter said. “You have to be a little crazy to do this.”
The divers – juniors Derrick Gulick and Kayla Rosko, and sophomores Jordan Almeida and Gezra Idnay – are officially part of the Fort Knox swim program, with the goal of competing at the region meet in February. Parmeter, a former diver in college at West Point, is teaching the basics right now, including keeping their balance on the board and performing somersaults.
Gulick said the sport is harder than it looks.
“It looks easy but you have to build up a lot of technique,” Gulick said. “It takes awhile to get yourself to do a somersault.”
The diving program fulfills a need for swim head coach Jonas Sosa. Diving is scored like any other swim event, and the Eagles were losing points in competitions by not having divers. There are five required dives that must be performed before competing in a meet is allowed: front, back, reverses, twists and inverse. Meets are held from one-meter boards.
Parmeter got involved through his two children, who swim for the Eagles, and helped recruit kids who wanted to be part of the program’s restart. He sees lots of advantages to adding the dive team and helping it grow.
“It’s fun to do,” Parmeter said. “It gives the kids a chance to have a program they didn’t have before.”
All the divers have different reasons for joining the team. Rosko, also a trainer for the swim team, said she would always see the high diving boards during meets at the University of Louisville’s Ralph Wright Natatorium, and wanted to try it out.
“They have the really high dives and I always wanted to do it,” Rosko said. “It’s scary but it seemed like fun. Why not do it here.”
Almeida’s father dove in high school, making the sport interesting to her.
“I like to try new things,” Almeida said. “It was a new sport and I just decided to come try it. Ended up loving it.”
Gulick and Idnay came out for the open try outs, and have been surprised by the level of skill required to perform dives.
“I didn’t know there was so many mechanics when it comes to diving,” Idnay said. “Most of the time I just close my eyes and let my brain do the work.”
The team’s goal for this year is to compete in a meet, regardless of where they finish. Parmeter sees potential in the crew he has assembled.
“They each have a category that comes naturally to them,” Parmeter said. “They each have categories that are really difficult for them to do. It’s still a team sport in that regard, when you get to see each other progress and learn from each other.”
The divers said it’s fun to be part of the program’s restart.
“I think it’s pretty cool that we’re part of the restarting of the program,” Idnay said. “It’s cool to be the first in something. “
Parmeter said he’s glad to help the kids progress in the sport.
“It’s good to get back into it now and pass it on to these kids,” Parmeter said. “I’ve spent 23 years in the Army with lots of deployments to Iraq and Korea and this is still one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.”