Though the high school boys swimming season was cut short, due to the COVID-19 crisis, a trio of Connecticut athletes still managed to earn NISCA All-America diving honors.
The New Canaan duo of James Ragusa and Jackson Camporin and Greenwich’s Whitaker Grover were among the list of 100 divers in the nation who made the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association All-America diving list.
Camporin and Ragusa, who were among New Canaan’s Class of 2020 graduates, also achieved All-America accolades in 2019.
A rising sophomore, Grover produced All-America results with a sensational freshman season for the Cardinals.
Grover won the FCIAC diving championship this past March. He totaled 535.60 points over 11 1-meter dives to capture the title. The State Open and class championship meets were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Greenwich coach Terry Lowe was highly impressed with what he witnessed from Grover.
“I could not believe the cool and focus Whitaker had as a freshman, especially in his first ever 11-dive championship meet at FCIACs,” Lowe said.
At the FCIAC Diving Championships, Grover posted two perfect 10.0 scores en route to claiming the first-place medal. The FCIAC Diving Championships featured 28 competitors, with Grover, Ragusa and Camporin placing 1-2-3, respectively.
“The FCIAC meet was a close contest, the final dive would determine who would take the gold medal,” Lowe said. Whitaker’s 11th dive was a reverse two-and-a-half tuck, which he had never done in a championship meet. With a 3.0 degree of difficulty, it was the most difficult dive in his program.”
Grover, who turned in a strong regular season for the undefeated Cardinals, efficiently executed his 11th and final dive at the FCIAC finals to win the conference title.
“Whitaker was so focused and so determined that his execution was better than I had ever seen him do the dive before,” Lowe said. “I was amazed that a freshman could pull that off to secure the victory. It was truly an All-American performance.”
Lowe predicts a successful future on the diving board for Grover.
“Whitaker was a great teammate, always supporting his fellow divers and offering tips to help even our most novice divers to improve,” Lowe said. “I am really looking forward to watching him dive over the next three seasons. If everything falls in place, Whitaker could be our first ever four year All-American.”
Ragusa, who will continue his diving career at the University of Massachusetts, placed second at the FCIAC Championships this past season (517.65 points).
As a junior, Ragusa won the Class L diving title (483.50) and placed fourth at the State Open Championships (447.45). Prior to the championship meets each year, Ragusa turned in a standout regular season for the Rams.
Camporin registered a third-place finish at the FCIAC Championships (457.55). Also an outstanding snowboarder, Camporin was third at the 2019 State Open (449.20) and took fourth at the Class L finals (445.60).
“The consistency of our divers has resulted in so much of the success our swimming and diving team at New Canaan has had,” Rams swimming coach Kat Munson said. “We always relied on James and Jackson to give us the edge in the diving section of a close meet. Everyone on our team appreciated the points we got from those guys each meet. Jackson and James were also incredibly humble. Seeing them at practice each day, you would have no idea how successful they were.”
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