FEDERAL WAY — Kayli Kersavage initially became interested in diving when she saw her mother watching the sport on television during the Olympics.
“It looked really cool, so I signed up for lessons and got invited to do club diving,” Kersavage said. “I guess I really liked it.”
Now the Snohomish freshman is a state champion.
Kersavage claimed the Class 3A state diving title by the slimmest of margins, edging a pair of divers for first place Saturday during the state swim and dive championships at King County Aquatic Center.
Kersavage finished with 395.80 points, just 0.15 points ahead of Squalicum junior Helene Synnott and 0.3 points in front of Bellevue senior Sarah Walsh.
“I’ve been coaching for 30 years and I have never, ever seen the top three that tight,” Snohomish diving coach Marc Hughes said. “To see (the) top three that tight is just incredible.
“Coming in here with this kind of pressure and performing like she did as a freshman, I couldn’t be prouder,” he added. “She did a great job. She had a few dives that were just gorgeous.”
Hughes said Kersavage’s attention to detail is one of the biggest factors behind her success.
“She is a stickler for details and her work ethic is just incredible,” Hughes said. “She’s never happy with it (being) a good dive. She’s always working to make it better.”
And with Kersavage still in the early stages of her prep career, Hughes is excited to see how she progresses in the coming years.
“She’s only a freshman, so I just can’t even imagine what the years ahead will hold for her,” Hughes said. “Honestly, if she keeps up at this pace, you’ll probably see her on a national level.”
Bindi Pedersen, a Grace Academy junior who swims for Marysville Getchell, claimed a pair of top-five state finishes.
Pedersen placed second in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2 minutes, 7.35 seconds, finishing nearly two seconds behind state champion Yanran Le of Squalicum. Pedersen also took fifth place in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.51).
Stanwood sophomore Jetlynn Hau earned a pair of podium finishes, placing third in the 100 breastsroke (1:04.35) and seventh in the 200 individual medley (2:11.26).
Edmonds-Woodway senior Morgan Broadhead took fourth place in the 100 freestyle (53.45), capping her career with a second consecutive top-five state medal in the event and a fourth top-10 state finish.
Oak Harbor senior Jillian Pape placed sixth in the 100 butterfly (59.24) and swam a strong freestyle leg to anchor the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:51.54).
Bassett completes improbable run to 2A diving state title
Three years ago, Kelsey Bassett suffered a fracture in her lower back that ultimately ended her decade-long run as a gymnast.
“I tried to come back from it, but it just hurt too much,” she said.
Bassett turned to pole vaulting and found success, placing second in state this past spring.
But she also wanted to play a fall sport. She tried soccer last season, but decided it wasn’t for her.
This fall, she gave diving a shot — and ended up a state champion.
Bassett, a Granite Falls senior who competes for Archbishop Murphy in diving, cruised to the Class 2A state title with 339.25 points. She finished more than 33 points ahead of the nearest competitor.
Not bad for a first-year diver who took up the sport just two months ago.
“I was really just in it to have fun and try something new,” Bassett said. “And then as we started progressing, (my coach) was like, ‘You’re kind of good at this.’
“So we just kind of kept going and going and trying new things. And it led to this.”
Moments after completing her improbable run to the state title, Bassett reflected on the setback that ended her gymnastics career.
“My injury set me out of the sport,” she said. “It led me here though, so I’m grateful for that.”