PHILADELPHIA — You don't rack up as many points in diving as Marin Bloise did Saturday without a varied skill set. But the Agnes Irwin junior had no idea that the most important one might have been her hearing.
Bloise's attentiveness picked up on an incorrectly entered dive in her program when it was announced. That, and a little versatility to hit a dive she hadn't practiced, helped ensure she would finally add a long-coveted Eastern Interscholastic Diving Championship to her resume.
With the pitfall on her eighth dive successfully avoided, Bloise accumulated 464.85 points, winning by more than 50 points. All the discrepancy cost her was the Delco record, of which she was exactly three points shy.
But some quick thinking made sure she claimed a victory she's chased since seventh grade.
"It means so much because I've been doing this, high school, competitively since seventh grade," the All-Delco said. "And when (coach Emily Brennan) hugged me at the end and gave me a kiss, I was just really proud. It means a lot because I've been working so hard for this."
Bloise was anticipating her eighth dive to be a back one-and-a-half in the pike position. The dive entered on the sheet was a reverse one-and-a-half in tuck, and had she automatically completed the dive she had rehearsed, it would've resulted in a failed dive.
After a brief conference with the referees, Bloise knew she had to do the dive listed, one that she hadn't readied for and with which she rated her comfort level about a 5 or 6 out of 10. She ended up receiving scores in the four to five range, but she'd already built a large enough cushion that any points ensured she'd cruise to victory.
"They told me I couldn't change the dive, I could only change the position (to up the degree of difficulty)," Bloise said. "So I said, OK, let's go for it. I've done it before, so I just tried my best. ... I was just hoping that it wasn't going to mess it up too much because there was another girl here who was pretty good. I was still a little bit comfortable, but I knew it had to be somewhat good."
Bloise's junior campaign has been uniquely injury-free. In the past, she's come into the season bruised up from soccer and track. This time, though, she's been on the board nonstop, and the result was obvious Saturday.
The only downer — and a slight one at that — was falling short of the county record set by Haverford All-Delco and 2013 graduate Alli Butera, Bloise's club training partner. Bloise is confident she could chase the mark of the University of Connecticut diver (467.85) in the future.
"Well, hopefully next year I can get to this," she said with a grin. "I've been working a lot this year. So I think I've got it."