Scott Smith, BSM’s dive coach, has been coaching Nightingale for two years now. “She is a tremendous athlete and a fierce competitor. These two attributes will serve her well in her future,” said Smith after Nightingale’s September 7 performance. “Putting that goal behind her has made her realize that she is capable of her own potential. I think it has put a fire in her to set an even higher mark.”
Nightingale did just that in a dual meet against Visitation on September 13. Her dives earned her 227.40 points. Nightingale’s new goal is to break the record for an eleven-dive meet. The current record is 342.95 points. Nightingale has previously scored up to 320 points. “We’ll see what happens,” said Nightingale.
In dual meets, each diver preforms six dives. There are three judges who score each dive on a scale from zero to ten, going up by halves. The scores from the judges are multiplied by the dive’s degree of difficulty. With all the math behind the diver’s scores, they have to wait until the end of the meet for their score to be revealed.
September 7 was Nightingale’s first time competing a back double and a back twister dive. Both of the dives are above two degrees of difficulty, which is the usual aim for divers going from a one-meter diving board. “I was really nervous about [them], but they went well,” said Nightingale.
The suspense leading up to Nightingale finding out her score filled BSM fans. “I knew she was well on her way around dive number three. She was ‘on’ that day. I know it meant a lot to her, so having her be happy about something really makes it all worth it,” said Smith.
After the meet, Nightingale was overcome with anticipation and went over to the judges’ table to see her score. “She had written the first number of my score. I saw her finish it up and it was 222, and then I didn’t even see what the rest of it was. I started jumping up and down and freaking out, and I burst out into tears; I just broke the record.” said Nightingale.
When Nightingale started getting close to breaking 200 points consistently, she became more aware of the record. The closest Nightingale had ever gotten to the record before was around 207 points.
Nightingale not only broke her own record September 13, but got her first eight ever. Divers consider a six and a half a good score. “I was excited that I got my first eight; it was my next goal. It is exciting to keep improving,” said Nightingale.