Back Dive Ch. 07byStrawberry_2051©
Ch. 07 – Inspired Swimming and Diving
Sullivan had three dives in the finals scheduled for early afternoon. He and the other finalists warmed up as the distance swimmers finished their events.
The team competition was not going very well. Sullivan's team was in a disappointing third place. It looked like the two high school swimmers were going to place in the distance swim, which would mean points they had not counted on. However Sullivan was in eighth place in the 3-meter diving event, which would put the team well below any chance of improving to second place.
Even if the team competition had been close Sullivan would not have been very motivated to compete that day. He was miserable about the way he had acted with Sarah the night before. Sullivan considered himself to be a good person, but last night he had been with a beautiful adoring high class girl and he had blown it. He had been paranoid at the bar, and incredibly pushy and selfish when they were intimate. His normal disciplined personality had failed him when he got emotional.
It didn't help that the other divers were ignoring him as if he were not there. Sullivan's old enemy and the diver in first place, Harvey, wore his characteristic smirking expression but he didn't even gloat. It was as if Sullivan was beneath Harvey's dignity as he socialized with the other divers who he considered worthy. Even Harvey's body language revealed his cocky personality, with an up-tilted chin and a tight bouncy step.
Sullivan kept to himself as the diving competition began. His first dive was an inward 2 ½ tuck. It was usually a good dive for Sullivan, but the dive was always a little scary for him. One year ago he had hit his head on the board doing this dive, and woke up in an ambulance.
Harvey went just before Sullivan, and coincidentally he was also doing an inward 2 ½. Harvey entered the water well past vertical and only deserved to get scores around four, but he got sixes. The favorable scores were probably because Harvey had built up a halo effect with the judges based on his performance in the prelims the day before.
As Sullivan approached the diving standard he noticed the crowd was a lot larger than normal for this kind of event, which was a little embarrassing. Even the balcony was lined with people two-deep. He began his normal speedy run up the ladder when the sight of a young woman on the side of the pool caused him to pause.
It was Sarah. She was walking the length of the poolside approaching the diving well bleachers. She was dressed nicely in baggy jeans with big cuffs, platform shoes, and a nylon blouse. Her style did not particularly comply with current fashion, but it did show a flair for dressing well. She had a slight smile as her eyes were directed at Sullivan and no place else.
A shot of adrenaline jolted through Sullivan at the sight of her. As he rounded the top of the ladder to stand at the base of the ten foot high diving board he waived slightly to Sarah. Of course the entire crowd noticed and automatically turned to look at Sarah as she approached. Without embarrassment she broke into a wide smile and waived back, then sat on the lowest bleacher seat.
As Sullivan approached the end of the board he experienced a jumble of emotions and internal thoughts. 'She's here just to watch me.' 'She seems happy to see me.' 'I'd better pay attention to this dive!' 'I'd like to do a good dive for her!'
Sullivan turned his back to the water in preparation to flip inward. His thoughts were almost dreamy as he rocked the board and jumped into the dive. As he flipped he knew he had a good take-off and he was turning rapidly, so he kicked into a pike position after the rotations. He could see that he was high above the water and had plenty of time to adjust for his entry. He stretched for the water with hands spread to break the surface tension. A rush of water and bubbles enveloped him in a way that he knew he had done a very good dive.
When Sullivan's head got above the water the loud noise of the applauding crowd surprised him. They had barely clapped for any of the previous divers. And they continued clapping until he got his scores, sixes, the same scores given to Harvey. The crowd abruptly fell silent.
Instead of going to his predetermined solitary location, Sullivan walked to the bleachers and sat next to Sarah. The crowd noticed his actions with some curiosity.
Sarah's beaming smile was infectious, causing Sullivan to beam back at her.
"That was a great dive!" said Sarah, "It's like watching fireworks!"
"Thank you." Sullivan nervously paused and with a slight sheepish smile continued, "About last night, I've been thinking about it and decided I was not very nice."
"Oh Sullivan, we both had fun with teaching me that back dive. You were very nice." She softened her voice. "And I've learned that I have nothing to be scared of." She smiled as she gazed into Sullivan's eyes. "Shouldn't you be worrying about diving?"
Sullivan felt like he was on top of the world. "Yeah, I guess so. I'll be back later." And he left to go concentrate for his next dive.
A reverse 2 ½ tuck was the most difficult dive for Sullivan to do well. It required a very good take-off but at the same time it was important to get away from the board.
The thing that was Sullivan's weakness was knowing precisely when to kick open from the tight spinning tuck. When flipping in this direction, he could not rely on "feel" but totally on his eyes spotting a target. When he saw the water for the second time, he would kick open and look for the entry. He didn't always get it right, and he only rarely did the dive particularly well.
As before, Harvey was doing the same dive as Sullivan. Harvey did a good job in the air but did not stretch very well for the entry. It caused him to catch a lot of water on his shoulders and make a big splash, even though he was straight up and down. Harvey got the scores he deserved: 6 ½'s and 7's.
Sullivan liked to emphasize one or two things in his mind before each dive. This time it was 'swing arms in front, stand straight'. He was still aware of Sarah's presence, but he was more focused this time. Sullivan did his approach and landed perfectly on the end of the board. He flew into the air and his tense mind registered 'water, water-KICK'.
Then Sullivan got lucky. He reached back blindly for the water and he happened to place his hands at the perfect spot for his rotation. His hands popped a hole in the water's surface and his body followed through before the water could close back in. Sullivan had accomplished a rare entry called a "rip", which makes a popping sound with absolutely no splash. It was especially rare for a larger diver like Sullivan.
He knew he had done well, but didn't know about the rip entry until he heard the crowd. They don't go crazy like that unless you smoke the entry.
Sullivan's scores were still too low: 7's. The crowd groaned their disapproval and a couple of people actually booed. The judges squirmed in their chairs embarrassed and red-faced.
Sullivan walked over to Sarah again. Sarah smiled but had a look of confusion. "You did a much better dive than Harvey, and the judges gave almost the same score."
"That's because they remember how I 'stunk the place up' with my diving yesterday." Sullivan did not seem concerned with his scores. "At least they have to score me a little higher because I seem to be doing the same dives as Harvey. "
Sullivan cleared his throat and changed the subject. "Sarah, while you're impressed with me and before I risk blowing it with my next dive I want to ask: would you like to go on a date?"
Sarah seemed surprised at his awkward timing. She answered pleasantly, "Well yes. I can even go this evening if you want to."
"That's perfect!" and he beamed a smile showing he was genuinely pleased. "Well I have to go concentrate for my last dive."
A reverse 1 ½ with 2 ½ twists has a fairly high degree of difficulty and with the right technique it is not that hard to do well. Harvey's turn came and he missed the dive. His take off from the board was rushed and as a result his height was low and he over rotated. This time Harvey got scores a little lower than he deserved: four's.
Sullivan went up the ladder having already decided on his special thought for this dive, 'swing arms in front, enjoy the ride.' Sullivan felt good. As he approached the end of the board he put a little extra 'umph' into his hurdle anticipating a good landing on the end of the board.
Sullivan had a panic moment as he overshot the end of the board! His toes were hanging out in space, which could cause him to slip! Normally Sullivan would play it safe by cutting his height short and pushing his hips forward to get the needed rotation, for a mediocre dive. But Sullivan's confidence powered him through the takeoff. He did not slip; in fact he had a particularly smooth launch into the sky.
Over the course of a fraction of a second, Sullivan experienced a feeling he would remember the rest of his life. He began the twist and suddenly became 'at peace'. The scenery flew by his eyes twisting and whirling. Yet he became strangely aware of his relaxed palms resting neatly on his chest, with the confident knowledge that he would know when to break out of the twist. He broke first with his arms extended outward, spotted the water a safe distance below and piked deeply toward the entry. He was able to stretch for the water well before impact. Sullivan felt the whoosh of bubbles shroud his body without the feel of water pressing on him one way or the other. Even while he was underwater he knew he had nailed this dive.
For the only time in Sullivan's life, he felt the need to acknowledge the enthusiastic reaction of the crowd. They were on their feet cheering. He gave a slight wave as he neared the side of the pool. He sprang onto the deck and the standing applause did not die down, so he waved and smiled again. He was energized and thankful.
Sullivan got very favorable scoring: nine's and two tens. This time the home-town crowd agreed with the judges. Sullivan could see a couple of his swimmer team-mates in the stands and they were calling out to him, clearly happy and impressed with his performance. Sullivan was flushed with pride as he approached Sarah.
She was still standing as she said with complete sincerity, "You were wonderful!"
Sullivan knew this was a special moment. He ignored that he was completely wet and walked right into Sarah, enveloping her in a body-thudding embrace.
"You inspire me!" he said in her ear.
Sullivan didn't stop. He smoothly leaned her back against his upper arm, raised her chin, and planted a kiss full on her lips. Sarah completely relaxed against him with a palm resting lightly on his chest as if they had been mates for a lifetime.
Sullivan and Sarah broke from their embrace to a new round of applause and cat-calls from his team-mates. It was truly a special moment.
Sullivan would later find out that he had won the meet. And he had beaten Harvey by almost the identical point total as when they had competed years before.
"We're in second place!" Coach Hart announced to the swimmers getting ready for the freestyle relays. "Sullivan went from eighth place to first on the three-meter! That means that if we can win either the women's or men's relays we can stay in second place."
The swimmers were instantly energized and listened intently as the coach continued. "Our best chance is in the men's relay. That's because our women's relay is short-handed and we've had to substitute one of the high school swimmers, Aline." Everyone turned to look at Aline who reddened instantly, even though this was not intended as an insult.
The coach continued, "But the other team does not know that. So, our strategy on the women's relay is to go from fastest swimmer to slowest. If we can get far enough ahead maybe they will simply give up." He looked around at the doubtful looks on the swimmers' faces and added, "Well, it's worth a try. Good luck girls. And Aline, you just do the best you can."
As the women's relay team gathered behind the starting blocks various team members came by and wished them a good swim. Since Aline was basically unknown to the college swimmers she was left alone, except by one person.
"Well Aline, after Coach talked like that I am very much hoping you have a terrific performance as the anchor swimmer!" It was Sullivan.
Karen approached about that time and Sullivan continued addressing Aline, "Good luck, you can do it!" He stood in front of her smiling encouragement, and she looked back at him speechless. Eventually he said, "Hello Karen," and after no response from her either, he simply walked away.
Karen looked after him. "He finally noticed us and neither one of us said a word."
Aline just said, "Shit on it!" She shook her head violently to start getting herself psyched up for the anchor leg of the race.
Andy approached and placed a friendly hand on each girl's shoulder. "We high-schoolers have tuh stick together." Then with both hands on Aline's shoulders he said, "Aline, I suggest yuh wait until the time is right before yuh get up on that startin' block, 'cause you don't want to get excited too soon." Aline looked into Andy's face as if she were a boxer getting instructions from a trainer. "Now you show them what you can do once you get good and pissed off!"
She nodded her understanding and turned toward the pool to see the start of the race. The first couple of legs of the race went about as expected. Aline's team boomed ahead and the team in the next lane began to catch up.
By the time the third member of Aline's team dove into the water, Aline had worked herself into a frothing fit, but she did not get on the starting block yet. The other team's members were watching her as if they were afraid of her.
The other team's anchor got on the blocks. She must have been six feet tall and had a German accent. She was very serious but kept a watchful eye on Aline's strange behaviors.
As the swimmers made their last turn Aline got on the blocks. Aline would alternately yell or break into a short sob. Her entire upper body was beet red and she was constantly swinging her arms wildly.
The swimmers were even as they approached. The German girl watched her swimmer but also occasionally glanced sideways suspiciously at Aline. As the swimmers neared the wall, Andy got behind the German girl.
"THAT GIRL IS CRAZY!" yelled Andy.
The German girl took her eyes off of her swimmer and looked fearfully over at Aline, who exploded off the blocks into the water. The German swimmer got a late start but it wouldn't have mattered. Aline swam a faster split than any female swimmer that day. Aline's team won and it wasn't that close.
All of Aline's team jumped in the water to celebrate, along with Karen and a fully clothed Andy. Coach Hart was smiling as he asked them to clear the pool for the men's freestyle relay.
The men's team was excited and pumped up after watching Sullivan dive and Aline swim. They won easily over the competing team which seemed somewhat deflated. Coach Hart's team won the meet!
The visiting teams left quickly but Coach Hart's team lingered. Eventually Coach Hart got everyone's attention.
"Sullivan and Aline, get over here!" he called out with delight. They stood to one side of Coach Hart as he talked about them. Sullivan placed an arm across her shoulder and she slipped her hand around his waist. Aline could not have been happier. For once her red hair was back away from her face. She was openly smiling and joking with Sullivan.
Coach Hart spoke loudly, "These two have been unbelievable in this meet. Sullivan here dove poorly yesterday, and then today he almost had the crowd lift him on their shoulders." Aline took the opportunity to lightheartedly squeeze Sullivan, causing him to stumble and causing the swim team to laugh. Aline was proud of her joke.
Coach Hart continued, "And how about this high school swimmer Aline? Yesterday she got so worked up she false-started and disqualified the medley relay team." He turned to look at Aline, "But Girl, I had no idea you could do what you did today. You have really learned how to harness that intensity!"
Sullivan squeezed Aline's shoulder making her stumble and she laughed along with everyone else. Coach Hart went on to comment how their performances had even motivated the male swimmers on the last relay. But Aline wasn't listening anymore. As she and Sullivan stood arm-in-arm she had slyly moved her hip over to rest against Sullivan's.
Coach Hart announced that it was time to go home. Everyone broke up as Sullivan turned to Aline.
"You impressed me Aline. You showed everyone what a high-schooler can do in a meet like this."
"You impressed me too Sullivan." On an overwhelming impulse Aline threw her arms around him for an intense full-bodied hug. Her initial thought was a wish that he hadn't been wearing a T-shirt so that she could feel him better. Instead she managed to slightly wobble her breasts on his chest.
What followed was an awkward stumbling two-second hug. During that two seconds Aline experienced the delight of their flat bellies bouncing together and their bare thighs brushing. But a special thrill passed through her when his bulge nudged briefly across her mound.
Sullivan was obviously surprised but polite. He patted Aline gentlemanly on the back and broke off the hug as soon as possible. As they parted they met eyes and each seemed to understand and accept the other. She was a teenage girl experimenting with newfound sensuality. Sullivan was a man with other interests, but he wanted to be respectful to Aline.
They laughed nervously. But when Aline laughed she also coughed and a string of snot shot about two inches out of her nose.
Sullivan flinched at the sight then acted quickly. He turned his shoulder to shield her so no one on poolside could see. He pulled up the front edge of his tattered T-shirt and offered it to her.
"Here quick! Use this!"
Aline obeyed, and wiped her nose on the tail of his T-shirt. She looked up and he was smiling at her like a big brother. She blushed profusely.
"This is so embarrassing!" Aline laughed.
"Don't worry a bit. I'm the only one who saw that, and I can sympathize with you. I used to constantly have that problem until I quit drinking milk." Sullivan casually removed his threadbare T-shirt and gave it to Aline. "Here, just throw it away. I should have gotten rid of this rag long ago."
They parted as friends. However, Aline's humiliating nasal discharge did not quench her sudden fiery lust, as she hungrily watched his butt and back muscles move while he walked away.
Karen had been waiting nearby inconspicuously. "Wow! You managed to hug up on Sullivan. Was that fun?" Karen was wide-eyed and curious.
Aline laughed, "Yeah, I thought I was giving him a hug he would remember. Instead I gave him a snot-rocket he'll never forget."
Karen bent forward open-mouthed, "NO!"
Aline replied, "Yep."