A Palo Alto High School alumnus has returned to officially coach the diving team for his first season and will get to showcase the new team at an invitational meet at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Paly.
After helping the varsity diving team sweep at the De Anza League finals last year as a volunteer, Paly alumnus Jordan Zenger has been hired as the new diving head coach. Zenger, who graduated in 2011, was on the Paly team from his sophomore through senior year, as well as the Stanford Diving Club team.
Teams from Menlo School, Monta Vista High School, Saint Francis High School, the King’s Academy, Los Altos High School and Los Gatos High School will participate in the upcoming spring invite, which will be a six-dive meet.
The invite will provide a more informal opportunity to ease divers into the new season, according to Zenger.
“It’s more of a meet to get everyone accustomed to diving,” Zenger said. “Most people have been off for a while or haven’t ever competed before. … It’s only a six-dive meet — it’s not as high stakes [as an 11-dive meet].”
Furthermore, Zenger noted that the Vikings have a chance at beating Bellarmine College Preparatory in the Central Coast Section competition, despite Bellarmine’s 29 straight championship titles.
“We have a rare opportunity to beat Bellarmine in CCS,” Zenger said. “They graduated a lot of points, and we’re bringing a bunch of new points on the team. They also don’t have any divers on their team, so if they don’t have anybody in those categories, those are automatic points that we can pick up as long as we can fill those spots.”
Zenger is optimistic about the team’s potential as a whole.
“There’s a very talented group of kids that we have,” Zenger said. “A lot of them work at Stanford — they have a club team over there, and they do some good training.”
However, sophomore diver Mimi Lin, who placed second in the CCS finals last season, pointed out the changes in the team’s makeup with the departure of then-seniors Cole Plambeck, Serena Yee and Nadya Nee, who placed second, seventh and ninth in CCS, respectively.
“We definitely aren’t as strong as last year because we lost three really good seniors,” Lin said. “But we’re doing okay.”
Additionally, the diving team is large enough to maintain a well-rounded team, according to Zenger.
“When I was on the team, we didn’t really have enough people to fill all the categories all the time, so we couldn’t compete everybody in JV,” Zenger said. “But now, I have a surplus of kids for varsity and JV boys and girls. If we had a weakness on the team, there’s somebody who can fill in.”
Swimming and diving coach Danny Dye also mentioned the strength of this season’s team.
“We have two or three divers in each division — boys and girls — that have the ability to score well in CCS, win Leagues — all of that,” Dye said. “Diving is one of our strengths, so I’m looking forward to it.”