Eli Brandt ’23 now holds the Kingswood Oxford diving record and to erase any doubt he set the mark not once, but twice.
Brandt cracked the 200-point mark in consecutive meets against Canterbury and Williston Northampton to etch his name in the KO record books. He scored 203 points against Canterbury on Jan. 19 and for good measure upped the mark to 206.30 at Williston Northampton on Jan. 26.
The 2018 New England Division II Diving champ, Brandt eclipsed the old mark of 187.35 was set in 1998 by Amias Moore Gerety. The old standard will remain on the books but as a "retired" mark since it was set according to a different scoring system, according to Kingswood Oxford boys swimming and diving coach Alex Kraus.
“Eli is an accomplished diver and despite being in Form 2, he is in his third year of competitive experience,” coach Kraus said. “Eli has improved this season with respect to the increased level of difficulty of his dives. Eli is steady and moves well from one dive to the next, not getting distracted either by his previous successes or setbacks. He’s good about paying attention to his next dive.”
That ability to go one dive at a time served Brandt well in both meets. Setting the record, his goal for the season was to reach 200 points, was on Brandt’s radar but it came on a day he didn’t start feeling all that great. He was able to push any doubts about his dives aside and the rest is history.
“At the meet in Canterbury, I started off very nervous. I had unsuccessfully practiced a new twisting dive that I was using in the competition that day,” Brandt said. “It also made me nervous that the diving was the first event opposed to being in the middle of the meet. Every time I get on the board, all I think about is the dive and that is the main reason why I was able to set the record. Also, whenever I do not do as well as expected on a dive, I push it out of my mind and only focus on the next dive.”
At Williston, Brandt substituted the back twisting dive with a front twisting dive that was worth the same amount of points. It worked and for the second time in a week he had set a school record.
“I had more experience with the dive and successfully practiced it the night before,” Brandt said. “Although the pool deck was freezing I did my best. Once the Williston coach showed me my score, I asked her two times if that was MY score!”
A diver since he was five years old, Brandt puts in the work. He dives from August through June with a team that practices out of Wesleyan University. He also always end the school year with a week of diving camp at the University of Texas at Austin.
With eclipsing 200 points out of the way and the record his, Brandt’s focus now is to make each dive the best he can and see where he can go from there.
“My goal for the season as a whole was to surpass 200 points, which I did. So, I would say that my goal for the rest of the season would be to improve the dives that I already have and become more confident in the dives that I am trying to learn,” Brandt said.