Diving A Passion For Payson Teen

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It's a daunting task to learn competitive diving in the Rim country. There is no diving team; the public pool is only open a couple of months each year; and the Rim country is studded with pine trees, not swimming holes.

But those obstacles haven't slowed 13-year-old Greg Lords from molding himself into a successful diver.

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From the deck of his Payson home, Greg Lords proudly displays the medals and trophy he won while competing this summer in diving. Lords, an eighth-grader at Rim Country Middle School, travels to Mesa to train and compete.

For the past several summers, the Rim Country Middle School student has packed his bags and headed to Mesa where he is a member of the Taylor Torpedoes swimming and diving team.

In Mesa, the eighth-grader lives with his father and practices daily under the tutelage of Torpedo's coach Alyssa Weight.

Lord's interest in diving was sparked five years ago by a cousin who was a state championship diver.

"She showed me how (to dive), gave me some lessons and I really like it," he said.

As a member of the Torpedoes, Lords has become one of the most accomplished divers on the team.

Competing in the 13- to 14-year-old division in the City of Mesa Diving Championships, the teen dominated the competition, winning four medals, two of them gold.

At the Grand Canyon State games last summer, he won gold medals in both the one- and three-meter dividing events.

Lord has honed his skills enough each summer to become highly successful in all of the dives he is required to execute inward pike, inward 1 1/2, front double and the reverse somersault.

For him, the inward 1 1/2, which is off the three-meter board, is his favorite dive.

"It's a lot more challenging and it feels good when you do it right," he said.

In August, after a summer of practicing his new-found skills at Mesa's Taylor Junior High School pool, Lords returned to the Rim country to resume classes at RCMS.

Although he's now a member of the Maverick cross country team and plans to try out for wrestling, it's diving that commands his interest.

"I can't wait till next summer to get started," he said. "I want to be an even better diver."

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