First diving meet with Missouri State to test team’s ability

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    The diving team will spring into action Saturday as part of the first dual swimming and diving meet of the season against Missouri State in the University Recreation Center natatorium.

    Head diving coach Wayne Chester said this weekend will be a good test to see what his squad of four divers will be capable of this year.

    “We don’t know what we’re looking for with Missouri State,” Chester said. “We don’t know what to expect, and don’t know what kind of divers they have.”

    R.J. Hesselberg, the lone senior on the squad and last year’s Mountain West Conference Male Diver of the Year, is the veteran leader of the team.

    “R.J. is a very likeable guy,” Chester said. “He sets a good example.”

    Junior Jen Ferguson agreed that Hesselberg is a great leader.

    “R.J.’s here every day working really hard,” Ferguson said. “He encourages us when we’re having trouble, and he’s kind of what we aspire to be focus-wise.”

    Hesselberg said he tries to lead the squad by example.

    “I try to do everything I can just to show them how they need to act outside of the pool as well as in,” Hesselberg said.

    Hesselberg said he expects to match his success from last season.

    “I’m pretty much going to try to do what I did last year,” Hesselberg said.

    The team is anxious to get to conference competition but is looking forward to this weekend as well.

    “I’m excited to start competing,” sophomore Kyle Callens said. “Competition has come up really quick, but I’m excited to see how we’re going to do.”

    With four active divers and one coach, the team has formed a close, family-like relationship.

    “Any time you have that close of a relationship with your kids it gets pretty tight,” Chester said. “You get to know them better on a more personal basis, and you get to know them better as far as how to coach them.”

    Ferguson said having a small squad can be helpful.

    “I personally love having a small team,” Ferguson said. “It allows you to work on the things that you need to do to get better.”

    The divers all agreed having the support of fans at their meets is vital to the squad’s success.

    “When we have fans there cheering for us, it’s a big encouragement to do a big dive,” Callens said.