Isola, Eding win state championships
Having amassed the highest score at any of the Division 3 regional diving competitions, Allegan senior Erin Isola entered the state finals with high expectations.
She didn’t disappoint.
Isola put together an 11-dive score of 454.40 to get past defending state champ Taylor Hosein of Milan by 18.5 points to claim the first state title in the history of the Allegan swim program.
Hamilton’s Rileigh Eding gave Allegan County a second state champion, winning the 50-meter freestyle in 24.04 seconds.
Allegan diving coach Kyle Oberhill couldn’t say enough about Isola’s performance.
“Erin’s an exceptionally hard-working and smart young woman,” Oberhill said. “She had a really solid meet with few errors. It’s been a lot of fun to coach her over the last four years.”
Isola took the lead early in the competition and never relinquished it.
That, however, doesn’t mean there weren’t some tense moments. In particular, her 10th dive—an inward one-and-a-half somersault pike—had Oberhill a little tense.
“That’s the one dive that she’s struggled with throughout this season,” Oberhill said. “It’s been a little inconsistent during practice and meets this year, so during finals I was a little nervous.
“But Erin stayed focused and put it down well maintaining her lead. She’s very confident in her last dive, so after she hit that 10th dive, I was pretty certain she had secured first place.”
That she did.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Isola said. “I’m really excited.”
While the state title was the first in school history for Allegan, Eding’s championship was the second for her personally in two years.
She came in as the defending state champion in the 100 backstroke only to be edged out in that event by St. Clair’s Grace Shinske, 56.27-56.48.
But Eding didn’t come away empty handed, taking top honors in the 50 free.
“(Eding) obviously would have loved to repeat in the backstroke,” Hamilton coach Eric Talsma said. “It was a tight race that she just ended up on the wrong side of. But her 50 free was a great swim and she raced it very well.”
The second half of the race was particularly impressive for Eding.
“She was behind a bit at the turn after a mediocre first 25, but the way she came home was great,” Talsma said. “Rileigh has trained very hard both in and out of season to put herself in position to win state titles. To accomplish the feat in two different events over two years is a tremendous success.”
For full story, pick up a copy of the November 26 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.