YOUNGSTOWN - Savannah Teter is glad she just performs from the 1-meter diving board during the high school season.
The Girard High School sophomore is one of the area's better Division II divers. Rest assured she can handle the platforms at the 10-meter mark when she competes in USA Swimming or heads to the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Iowa this summer. She qualified for AAU with a 428.95 at this year's All-American Conference Meet earlier this month in Hubbard. It smashed last year's AAC best of 338.65 set by Teter.
"I don't practice the platforms, but I do in the summer. I haven't practiced the platform in forever," said Teter while practicing at the Beeghly Natatorium on the campus of Youngstown State University. "I started doing them (recently) again. I just jumped off the 10 meter, which is the highest one.
"I was pretty scared. It flipped my stomach. I've been jumping off most of the platforms, actually. I'm not really afraid of heights, just falling makes my stomach feel like it."
Teter said her upset stomach didn't come into play when she qualified for the 2013 Division II state meet in Canton. She finished sixth out 16 divers. Neither did her nerves. In some ways, she wishes there were some moments of tension, but more focus than anything.
"I really didn't know what I was doing. It was my first year," Teter said. "I was doing what I would do in practice. I wasn't trying to worry about anything last year. This year, I'm trying to stay focused because I know what I'm doing better. I have more experience in it. I'm trying to get my mind set and go in and rip it."
She plans to enhance her repertoire by going with a little more gusto.
Her scores have been up from last year, showing more skill and difficulty on her attempts off the spring-loaded, 1-meter board.
Her diving coach Ron Navarra said Teter has been trying an inward one and half, twisting one and half, along with working on a four, two-and-a-half dives.
She hopes that degree of difficulty can get Teter back to state. Since there are not a lot of Division II divers, Teter goes directly to today's Cleveland State district. She just needs to get through there to head back to state.
"I think she knows she can do it again this year," Navarra said. "She has a tougher list that makes it easier for her this year with the higher scoring ability.
"Hopefully she'll keep polishing up the dives and she'll be ready to go right through."
Teter is hoping her dives, especially her front two and a half tuck, get her a return trip to the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"I've been doing it pretty consistently," she said. "I usually over-rotate them. It's pretty weird because I guess I have a lot of power. I'm really trying to get some of my harder dives, so I can bring those to state."
When Teter is about ready to spring off the 1-meter board, she hopes her hurdle - the final forward movement before jumping into the water - is just right.
"If I'm on the platform, I tell myself to calm down," Teter said. "All I have to do is step off and I'll go from there. The first thing you have to do is step off before you can do anything. I always like to think ahead, think about the dive, think about how I have to do this, this and this."