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Diary of Gay Games Virgin: Ready to compete

For novice diver, the practice is over -- now it's time for the competition in Cleveland.

Joshua Koch will be competing as a diver in this year's Gay Games in Cleveland, which run Aug. 9-16. This is his first Gay Games and he will chronicle his journey. This is his last entry before competing.

With the Gay Games starting this Saturday, I finally have found sometime to reflect on my current feelings and status as I make my final preparations for my competition. Many elements have come into play to help shape the mental image of my goal into reality.

For starters, practice is a must for me to perform my best. Knowing what dives I can compete, and vigorously repeating them, allows me to know what I do well with each individual dive, and what I must correct in order to make them perfect. Whether I need to point my toes or completely overhaul my approach, practicing will lead me to the solution for deciphering my best dives.

During beginning practices I had my head in the clouds. I began throwing Olympic optional dives like back 1-1/2 somersaults with 2-1/2 twists, and forward 2-1/2 somersaults with a full twist. I smacked the water a lot. My body and legs looked as if I were sunburned from the impact of the water. Whoever says diving is not a contact sport has never done a belly flop!

After enough practice I was able to complete the dives. Regardless, to score with dives in a competitive range during a diving meet, these dives did not prove appropriate. The same is also said for basic voluntary dives such as front dive pike or inward dive tuck. Even though performed effortlessly, even scoring perfect 10s with theses dives would not put me in scoring range either.

With this knowledge the second step is to allocate from my high scoring dives, the best to suit the required dives and regulations for the meet. The Gay Games meet regulations were very helpful. Each diver is to compete six dives for each individual event. Divers are separated into age groups in increments of 10 years, and these groups would be separated into age groups of five years if there were more than five divers competing in an age group.

With this information, I knew I had an absolute six dives for both of my events to compete and win with a high score based on the consistency of how well I feel about my dives during practice. My 3-meter list includes reverse dive pike, front 1-1/2 somersaults with one twist, front 2-1/2 somersaults pike, inward 1-1/2 somersaults pike, back 1-1/2 somersaults pike, and back 1-1/2 somersaults with 1-1/2 twists. The only difference between this list compared to my one meter list is my inward 1-1/2  and my front 2-1/2 are in tuck position.

The best part was when imputing my dives onto divemeets.com for the meet officials to review and I noticed my dives were definitely the right choices in viewing my competitors' dives as well. When selecting dives for a meet it is critical to know your given circumstances and assess how they will effect your performance. In this case knowing myself and what I am able to accomplish seems enough this far, and if performed adequately I have a good shot at a medal position. I am trying not to count my chickens before the hatch though. I am very excited for the competition though and have been long waiting its arrival. Until then I wait anxiously for this adventure to begin.

Get ready. Set. Games.

Joshua Koch lives in Denver and can be reached via email at kochjosh84@yahoo.com.

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