Bennett dives to school record, all-MAC honors at Buffalo

March 25, 2014

Cade Bennett DivingUniversity at Buffalo diver Cade Bennett of Anchorage had executed the Inward 2½ dive a couple hundred times before the Mid-American Conference Championships.

But never when he was contending for a conference title and shooting for a school record.

Despite the pressure, Bennett nailed it.

The all-conference freshman finished second on the 1-meter board at the NCAA D1 meet and earned a Buffalo record score of 354.45 points, qualifying for the NCAA Diving Zones in the process.

“That was my highest scoring dive ever,” he told me. “It was a great feeling once I got in the water and felt like I went in nice and straight. Oh, yes.”

He placed fifth on the 3-meter board.

Bennett, of Dimond High fame, was a two-time state champion in Alaska. The 5-foot-6 diver is on scholarship and earning every dime as a school-record holder in his first year on campus.

“I was really excited about getting that,” he said. “A meet I did earlier in the year I came pretty close, so I was eyeing it the whole season and to get it in the last meet was pretty exciting.”

In a sport defined by judges, most divers check the scoreboard after each dive to see how they did. Not Bennett, though.

“I don’t want to freak myself out,” he said.

He didn’t need to look at the scoreboard after sticking his Inward 2½ at the MAC Championships, his dive with the highest level of difficulty.

“When I got on the board I knew I had to nail it and I did,” Bennett said. “I keep that dive at the end of my list so I can pull it out. I’m pretty mellow about [celebrating] because I always think I can do better.

“Now that I have my name on the board, I want to get on there again next year; it’s an expectation when you are training, but when you actually get it, it’s such a relief but then you move and try to do better.”