The biggest test: Seymour senior diver, junior swimmer to compete in state finals

Seymour High School will be represented in both the lanes and diving well at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis this weekend.

Senior Devin Ramsey is one of the favorites to take the state crown in 1-meter diving, while junior Trevor Layne will make his first appearance in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Ramsey eyes title

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Ramsey has every dive in his arsenal to win state. He just needs to put everything together one last time.

During the 2018-19 season, he hasn’t lost to any other divers.

The senior scored a 472.75 to win the Bloomington North Regional on Tuesday after taking the Floyd Central Sectional with a score of 557.25 on Saturday.

Ramsey had a sizable lead by his final dive before beating out the 2018 regional champ, Franklin senior Gauge Creech (472.75), for top honors.

The 557.25, a Seymour school record, is the highest diving score recorded thus far in the postseason.

Oak Hill senior Caiden Lake scored a 484.05 to win the Fishers Regional, and Delta sophomore Sam Bennett had a 481.35 for runner-up honors. No divers from the Penn or Plainfield regionals scored higher than Ramsey in the second round of the postseason.

“There were some dives where I kind of messed up at regional,” Ramsey admitted. “I need to revise those. Mainly, I need to clean up all the dives to get a high score.”

Ramsey finished fourth at state last year with a score of 469.45. He was 13th his sophomore season at 394.85.

The three divers who placed above Ramsey from last year’s competition have all graduated.

“I feel like all season, he has had a great work ethic,” Seymour diving coach Tara Sutherland said. “He has really put his heart into it. I think that’s what it’s going to take to win. You have to want it. Every day, that’s one of the questions we go over: How bad do you want it? It’s his time. It’s all on him. I think he knows that.”

Unlike many other divers going into state, Ramsey has created his own routine.

“I let him set his own dive routine,” Sutherland said. “Most coaches will say, ‘This is what you’re going to do, and this is the order you’re going to do it.’ I feel like giving him that flexibility will help his mindset. It has worked. He knows where he scores on each dive and how each dive makes him feel. I’m just here to guide. I feel like he also knows what average he needs per dive to get the score he wants.”

Ramsey has a twister and 3½ somersault dive that aim to impress. He will like be the only diver to attempt the 3½, a dive that he has been throwing for a chunk of the season.

“You have those required groups of dives that make it equal across the board. You’re going to see that, and everyone is all over the board with that,” Sutherland said. “There are then optional dives. Our optional dives are all 2.6 or higher DD (degree of difficulty). We’ve got a great DD level. We had to bring it down by required standards. I think his twister is the ‘wow’ dive for me. It’s his fifth dive, and it’s amazing. It’s always on point, and that’s the dive I expect will wow everyone because it’s beautiful.”

Seymour head coach Dave Boggs said Ramsey is a special talent.

“He’s the best I have ever seen,” Boggs said. “I take a lot of what he does for granted. The really great ones make it look so easy. He gets so many compliments. He is almost like a rock star at some of these meets. Everyone knows he is one of the top guys to beat. Diving, you just hope they are on that day.”

All of the diving will take place Saturday. The prelims will commence at 9 a.m., with the top 20 of 32 competitors advancing to the semis after five dives each.

After three dives each in the semis, the top 16 will advance to the final round for another three dives each.

The swimming and diving finals will start at 1 p.m. Diving is the fifth overall event in the finals.

“I’m excited. It’s my favorite pool,” Ramsey said of the natatorium. “I love it there. There is a lot of room. That diving well is also really warm.”

Ramsey expects a nice following at state.

“My family takes a lot of pride in watching me dive,” Ramsey said. “I love seeing them there supporting me with the sport I love. It motivates me to do better.”

Seymour has never had a diver win a state championship.

Layne continues improbable season

Before the 2017-18 season, Layne didn’t know anything about the breaststroke.

One year later, he’s one of the top performers of the stroke in all of Indiana.

Layne is in his second year of swimming ever. At the recommendation of some friends, he went out for the Owls’ swimming and diving team last winter.

At the start of his sophomore campaign, Boggs and company saw Layne had some natural talent.

“In the preseason, we have a time trial. We do one stroke each day, and we use that to kind of gauge who has talent we may have missed,” Boggs said. “He had a pretty good breaststroke time, so we put him in it. He took off from there.”

At the 2018 sectional at Floyd Central, Layne placed fifth overall with a time of 1:05.57. It was at that point he knew he could succeed at the event.

“When I made the top eight on Thursday night of my first sectional, I thought I maybe had a shot at being pretty good at this,” Layne said.

At last week’s sectional, Layne edged Floyd Central senior Noah McIntire by six-hundredths of a second for the title in 58.75.

“It’s a very nice feeling,” Layne said of making it to state. “I want to treat it as business as usual. I just want to swim. That’s probably the hardest part — I have to wait until Friday.”

Layne is seeded 22nd of 32 swimmers in the breaststroke.

“It has been quite a whirlwind to see him improve week by week,” Boggs said. “He has a strong desire to succeed. He is always asking questions on how he can get better. We have spent most of this year trying to find his stroke — if we wanted a more powerful one or a faster tempo. What he did at sectional, we saw the stroke we want.”

Munster junior Kyle Adams enters the event as the favorite with a seed time of 55.96.

Seymour is known for its breaststrokers. Patrick Calhoun won the state title in the event in 1999, and Kameron Chastain took it in ‘10.

Seymour has one other state champion, Kordy Reid. He won the 50-yard freestyle in 1979.

Layne said he met Calhoun, who was a member of the USA National Team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, during a practice this season.

“He is following a very successful list of breaststrokers from here — two state champions and an Olympian,” Boggs said. “That’s pretty good company. A lot of the swimmers keep up on the team. They will send me a text or email about our current swimmers. They are very appreciative and supportive of the swimmers coming behind them. They are happy when their records are broken because that means the program is getting better. That’s the attitude they have.”

Chastain currently holds the school record with a time of 55.41, which he set the year he won the state title.

“I don’t think (Layne) reaches it this year, but I think that’s his goal next year,” Boggs said. “I thought last year, he could go 58 this year. He did it.”

Layne said he’s working on a variety of facets this week leading up to state.

“I’m really going to have to focus on the little details, especially on my turn,” he said. “I think I’ve found my stroke, but off the wall and underwater will be the biggest factor for me to drop time.”

The top 16 in each swimming event during Friday’s prelims will return for competition Saturday with the top eight individuals vying for state championship honors. The breaststroke is the 11th of 12 events on the schedule.

“We figure if he can drop one second, he will have a great chance of getting to Saturday,” Boggs said. “That would just be great. We are going there for experience, and hopefully, the kid just keeps surprising me.”

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What: IHSAA Boys Swimming and Diving State Finals

Where: Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis

When: 6 p.m. Friday (swimming prelims), 9 a.m. Saturday (diving prelims and semis) and 1 p.m. Saturday (consolations and finals for all events)

Who: Seymour senior Devin Ramsey (diving) and junior Trevor Layne (100-yard breaststroke)

Admission: $8 per session or $15 both days