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Timeout boys swimming: LaPorte’s Josh Arndt looking for another diving title

LaPorte's Josh Arndt sets up for his next dive during meet against Lake Central Tuesday. Arndt is defending state champidiving.

LaPorte's Josh Arndt sets up for his next dive during a meet against Lake Central Tuesday. Arndt is the defending state champion in diving. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 19, 2013 6:20AM



The idea was that Josh Arndt would win a state diving title as a senior.

Things didn’t go according to plan, though — Arndt won state last season. So what now?

The answer is simple: work on some harder dives and try to become the first repeat state winner in diving since Western Boone’s Brian Carr in 1992-93.

It’s a lofty goal for anyone, but especially so for someone who didn’t dive before high school.

“Freshman year, I was in gym class and we were in the pool swimming,” Arndt said. “We were jumping off the diving board and they mentioned the diving team. I was like, ‘We have a diving team at LaPorte? I never even heard of that.’”

Soon enough he did, and soon enough Slicers diving coach Mel Kovenz knew he was dealing with a special talent.

Arndt, whose only previous stabs at competitive sports were brief stints playing football and running track in grade school, proved to be a natural at diving.

He finished fifth at the sectional each of his first two years before sweeping sectional, regional and state last season, scoring 543.80 points in the state meet.

The turning point came before last season, according to Arndt.

“Freshman and sophomore year, (I} was kind of mediocre,” he said. “Summer after sophomore year, I started doing the club circuit.”

That experience paid off a bigger jackport than Arndt could have imagined. It still may not have sunk in entirely that he’s a defending state champ. “I go back and watch some of the videos, it brings a tear to my eye,” he said.

But he’s not preoccupied with the past. During the last offseason, he went to a camp at Indiana University for three weeks and liked the program enough to commit to dive for the Hoosiers. His recruiting out of the way, Arndt turned his attention to some big goals this season.

Scoring 400 points in a dual is at the top of his regular-season wish list. That seems within reach since he opened the year by going nearly 369.75 and followed that up with a 376.6.

“I’m happy with how things are going, (but) there’s definitely room to improve,” Arndt said.

Kovenz isn’t worried about Arndt getting complacent even though he’s getting the celebrity treatment you’d expect for a state champ.

“Other (athletes) stand around and watch,” Kovenz said. “The kids are seeing dives that not too many high school kids do or would want to attempt. (But) his head’s on good.”

With Christmas break approaching, Arndt is looking forward to having more time to polish some new, more difficult dives. The ideal is to have the repertoire he needs to make a run at the state-meet record of 623.90 set by Hamilton Southeastern’s Phillip Jones in 2001.

“They’re definitely coming around,” Arndt said. “They’ll be ready for championship season (beginning with the Duneland Athletic Conference meet). Hopefully I can pop them out in a dual meet here or there.”

Because, as history shows, Arndt has a way of getting where he’s going ahead of schedule.



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