Some of the Stateline’s best performances at the State Swimming and Diving meet over the years have typically have come in diving. Belvidere North diver Jacob Hedberg hopes to keep it that way this weekend in Evanston.
It’s clear from the first time Hedberg takes off a diving board that he’s a natural at this sport.
“I started when I was 12,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed it ever since.”
Before he turned to diving Hedberg excelled on the trampoline, but age at 13 he had to give that up.
“When I was 13 I was at the national championship for trampoline and on my final skill I landed on the side of the trampoline and I injured my knee.”
Focusing full-time on diving Hedberg has been able to qualify for state all four years of high school. He qualified again this past Saturday by winning the Jefferson Sectional.
“I was really happy with my performance,” says Hedberg. “Now I just want to get everything consistent and perfected.”
So what is his favorite dive?
“Probably the inward one and a half somersault pike. It’s pretty consistent and it has a pretty high degree of difficulty. I can hit it most of the time.”
Another one of his more challenging dives is the back one and one-half somersault, one and one-half twist.
“He’s a great kid to coach,” says Hedberg’s coach Gary Cacciapaglia. “He’s really focused. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s always listening.”
There will be 48 divers competing at State. The top 12 make the finals. In his previous three trips there Hedberg has made the finals all three times finishing 11th, 12th and 10th.
“Our goal is to make the finals again for a four-time state finalist,” says Cacciapaglia. “If we just make it to the finals then whatever else happens after that is icing on the cake.”
“What I’ve learned is don’t take anything for granted,” says Hedberg of State. “There’s a lot of good divers out there in the state and to make it to the finals is a pretty big deal.”