Fourth Year of Jr. National Titles For Fort Lauderdale Diving Team

Ali Watson
Courtesy of Ali Watson

By Erin Keaveny, Swimming World Corespondent

Fort Lauderdale Diving team member Aliyah Watson, or Ali, won ten meter platform in the 16-18 age group at USA Diving Junior Nationals earlier this month, making it the fourth consecutive year that the team has had at least one champion at the meet.

The 2018 USA Diving Junior National meet took place from July 29 to August 4 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Watson, a member of USA Diving’s High Performance Squad, was one of seven from the Fort Lauderdale Diving Team to qualify for the meet. It is her fourth time attending the meet, and her first national title.

She won the event with a total score of 495.15, finishing ahead of Johanna Holloway, another High Performance Squad Member.

Watson competed an impressive list successfully and consistently to earn her latest title. Her reverse two-and-a-half-tuck (305C) and her back two-and-a-half with one-and-a-half twists pike (5253B) were both awarded over 70 points from the judges.

She was recently featured in the Sun Sentinel for her achievement.

“Winning a national title was a goal I set for myself when I first started diving, but I never thought that I was actually going to achieve it,” Watson told the Sun.

The Fort Lauderdale Diving Team is lead by head coach Dave Burgering, who has been coaching for more than 33 years. Under his leadership, the team has had the highest team ranking at Junior Nationals of any team from Florida.

The team is based of the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, and specializes in springboard at platform diving.

“Ali did a great job going straight in and on most dives doing what she’s known for — ripping the entry,” Burgering told the Sun. “Our plans are to move up the ranks at the senior nationals and then see her off to a great college program.”