The St. Louis metro area has seen many outstanding performances at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Swimming and Diving Championships over the years. This year was no different as a young man from Webster Groves solidified his name in the record books as the sixth diver to win three consecutive diving titles.
Bennet Loving scored the 13th-highest point total in state history a few weeks back with 499.05 points en route to claiming his third straight diving championship at the St. Peters Rec Plex.
Winning a state title for three straight years is a tremendous accomplishment that is not lost on Loving as he knew that it was something that has not been done many times in state history.
“It took a lot of practice and work to get to this point,” stated Loving. “It feels amazing, especially with all my teammates cheering me on through the years. I never thought that I would be here three times in a row and here I am!”
When people talk about specialized sports such as diving, there is a love for that sport as so much time and energy goes into it. Loving found that love years ago and has never looked back.
“I actually started off by going to public pools and diving off the boards there and eventually started doing a summer club,” said Loving. “I started to like it and then started to do year-round lessons. My coach at the time for private lessons suggested that I come and check out a practice for his club and it has now been four years since I started that.”
Diving is a sport where you just cannot be successful by just going to practice. There are many hours that no one can see to prepare and train to be a state champion. Loving is no different as he does so much away from school practices to get better.
“Other than high school practices, I would also do multiple practices a day that equaled four hours a day,” stated Loving. “I would also do a lot of stretching at home and go to the gym on a daily basis to work on my core strength and other muscles that I need. Diving is a very rigorous sport; at other times, it can deteriorate your body, especially with the heights that you may dive off of, so you have to build up your muscles to stay healthy.”
Going into this season, Loving knew that there were going to be some high expectations for him after winning the past two state titles. The pressure can be immense for someone with those expectations.
“I did have a decent amount of pressure this year, even though I thought that I would be fine,” said Loving. “A lot of people kept saying that you are going to win this year and I kept saying that you never know what can happen. The pressure was definitely there and this year I wanted to push myself a little bit more by doing more difficult dives. That was the main thing that I was focusing on other than competition.”
Being a state champion in the diving event and an outstanding student in the classroom is something that Loving strives for. He knows that organization of his time is a key component to his success in both areas.
“You have to love the sport, but you also have to be persistent and stay with it even when it is hard,” stated Loving. “For me, it helps to block out my time in separate ways so that I know what needs to get done. That helps me balance everything out without losing my mind.”
Loving is still in the recruiting stages of his next step after he graduates in the spring, but he wants to remain in the pool and is looking into a career in the business world.
Congratulations to Bennet Loving of Webster Groves on being named our HSSC/Scoops with Danny Mac Student-Athlete of the Week and we wish him nothing but the best.
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan