Chambersburg's Nick Cover dives into top competition
For most people, plunging into a body of water from a platform 10 meters in the air is not an idea of a good time.
But for Chambersburg junior Nick Cover, it's what he's been working toward nearly his entire life. He twists and turns and somersaults through the air with miraculous flexibility and strength, unparalleled by any other diver in Franklin County, and is aiming for a top five finish in the state.
Cover, who started as a gymnast, moved from the mat to the pool early in his career after his family struggled to find a men's gymnastics team in the area. And luckily for Cover, the transition was smooth sailing.
"It's hard to start out without gymnastics experience," Cover said. "You're doing all of these flips and turns in the air and then the water is painful if you smack, so having the gymnastics background can really help your awareness in the air."
"You could see that he had a natural ability to him (even in fifth grade)," Chambersburg diving coach Ryan Crider said. "He's taken good instruction and has turned his tumbling leans into standing upright, and he finishes his dives well because of that. He's been a good student of the sport."
Since, Cover has emerged as one of the state's top divers, and has thrived in high school competition, USA Diving, and individual invitationals. He is fresh off of a win in the 3-meter final at the Lord of the Boards Winter Diving Classic at Rutgers University, a diving showcase featuring the top divers around the northeast. He also placed second at the Mid Penn Conference championships last week - and that's only the beginning.
He moves on to the District 3 3A championships at Wilson High School next Saturday, where he will meet a familiar opponent. Since his freshman year, Cover has improved upon his finish at districts each year, but continues to fall in line behind Jake Hedrick of Hershey, who beat him at the Mid Penn Championships last week.
"I'm preparing for a good competition with Jake (at districts)," Cover said. "He's a great and phenomenal diver and I'm hoping for a good competition with him. We were on the same club team at Soaring Eagles (East Berlin, Pa.) so we've grown up together practically and we're really good friends."
Last year Cover came home from districts with a bronze medal, and placed seventh at the state level. This year, Cover hopes to come home with yet another improvement at districts, and a top-five finish at the PIAA championships.
"I expect a really good district meet out of him and he's hopefully going to finish another notch higher or two at states, and next year I think he should be moving up a little bit more," Crider said. "We are losing a couple of seniors in the area and unless someone comes up that's been under the radar, I expect Nick next year to be even higher up on the ladder."
He has also competed at USA Diving National Championships the last three years, posting his best mark between his freshman and sophomore seasons, placing ninth in on the Junior Olympic platform.
"It was a really good experience going to nationals (last year) seeing all of the coaches from around the nation," Cover said. "I got to dive on a big stage and it gave me some confidence for future meets."
Nick Cover file
USA Diving: Soaring Eagles Dive Club (East Berlin, 2010-2016), Montgomery Dive Club (Hagerstown, Md., 2016-present)
Recent events: Cover won the 16-18 boys 3-meter final at Lord of the Boards with a score of 493.05, and placed second in the boys 16-18 platform racking up 420.00 points ... He also placed second at the Mid Penn Championships, scoring 478.65 points.
Next event: District 3 3A Diving championships, Saturday at Wilson High School, 10 a.m.