Archived Story

Focused on the final [UPDATED]

Published 11:48am Thursday, February 27, 2014 Updated 1:41pm Thursday, February 27, 2014

A lot goes through Fergus Falls diver Reid Magnuson’s head before he stands on the diving board. But when his feet finally set before he makes his move toward the water, it’s all focused on one thing — making the most of each dive.

This week, he’ll put that focus to the test as he looks down from above at the state’s preeminent pool at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center for the state swimming and diving meet.

“It’s crazy,” Magnuson said. “For the finals (at state), you step on the board and it’s dead silent. All you think about is that there are hundreds of pairs of eyes looking down at you. You can feel all the anxiety, all the butterflies, just flow through you as you think about your dive.”

Magnuson’s state appearance is the culmination of months training and competing with that focused approach off the board. Having earned this second trip back to the state competition, it’s one that has paid off well.

It’s also one he developed at work each night in the pool with fellow senior diver Mike Pistulka and former Otter and current South Dakota State University diver Michael Aasness. The trio formed a tight-knit group last year that used friendly competition to push each other as they developed as divers. Even after Aasness left for the next level, his competitive presence stayed around — Aasness’ name  was left on the maroon and gold record board above the pool.

In the last performance at his home pool, however, Magnuson took over the school diving record Aasness set last year and Alexandria’s Aaron Rooney’s pool record with a score of 292.35. He went on to do the same thing at the section meet, setting the section scoring record at 498.45.

“I just wanted to go out with a bang,” he said with a laugh. “I think it worked out pretty well.”

Even with his name down a spot in the record books, Aasness celebrated both Magnuson’s and Pistulka’s achievements with the two this year. Magnuson has relied on the bond that the three divers share throughout his career.

“If I could, I would have Michael’s and my name on the board,” Magnuson said. “We both had excellent years. He trained hard and so did I, but records are made to be broken I guess.”

Aasness took second at the state meet last year, the best a Fergus Falls diver has ever finished in the competition. Just like Aasness before him, Magnuson will try for the highest spot on the podium. When asked what position he’s going for, his answer was clear:

“First,” he said with a hopeful grin.

Diving preliminaries begin at noon on Thursday. Both the swimming and diving finals will be held on Saturday.

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