Revere senior takes a dive to reach the top

by Sheldon Ocker                

It can be lonely at the top. Just ask Revere senior Peyton Thurman, who finished in sixth place at the state high school diving championships for the second consecutive year.

As in many sports, athletes with the most talent and highest aspirations do the heaviest lifting for club teams whose seasons range far beyond those of school varsities.

For Thurman, that’s American Flyers Diving, whose instructors teach the best of their students 3- and 5-meter springboard diving and 7.5-meter platform diving. High school divers perform exclusively on 1-meter springboards.

“She definitely has upped her difficulty game,’’ said Marc Cahalane, Thurman’s coach at American Flyers and the diving coach at the University of Akron. “She is definitely doing bigger dives and doing them more consistently.’’

Thurman literally has reached a much higher level at her diving club. But plunging 25 feet into a pool from the 7.5-meter tower is more than a little intimidating. Does she feel nervous up there?

“I do, yes,’’ Thurman said. “I enjoy 3-meter best, because platform diving gets higher and higher.’’

But that comes with the territory in tower diving. Thurman has risen to Blue Team Elite, reserved for American Flyers’ most advanced divers.

“She definitely has not come near her ceiling,’’ Cahalane said. “Peyton is very driven. I’m impressed how these young adults do the things they do.’’

Thurman has no teammates at Revere. During her four years of diving for the Minutemen, she has been the school’s entire diving team.

“My freshman year it was difficult diving alone because I didn’t know a ton of people, and I didn’t know what to expect going into meets,’’ she said. “But as the years went on, I got to know more people from other schools. Now, I have a diving community I can lean on.’’

Continual improvement took lots of work and discipline. Thurman said she practices 2 ½ -3 hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year, given the demands of her high school season and the diving club’s year-round regimen.

“We don’t go on vacations,’’ said Thurman’s mother, Meagan. “We take road trips to her meets.’’

Through her connection with American Flyers, Thurman has competed in meets at several university facilities including Kentucky, Tennessee, Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, Ohio State, Buffalo, West Virginia and Eastern Michigan.

Next fall, Thurman will attend American University in Washington, D.C., where she plans to major in Spanish and work in some business courses.

“I think being bilingual will do a lot for me,’’ she said. “And I would love to travel the world.’’

Although she will be diving at a Division I school, American does not bestow scholarships for diving. However, Thurman needn’t worry about paying enormous fees at the private school, because she has been awarded an academic scholarship.

It’s been six years since Thurman tagged along with her then-9-year-old brother Bane to see what diving was all about. Bane spent about two months checking out the sport before switching to swimming. This year, he is a freshman on the Revere swim team.

When she isn’t practicing her dives, Thurman likes to bake and “hang out with my four dogs,’’ she said.

Thurman also turns the TV to the Summer Olympics every four years to watch the best divers in the world.

“It definitely helps me with my technique,’’ she said. “I understand what they’re doing. I do strive to do the really hard dives.’’ ∞