Nine-year-old Starz diver set to compete in national event
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent April 11, 2013 10:54PM
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:56AM
Nine-year-old Zach Ramacci has an interesting obstacle that he’s working to overcome. When it comes to difficult dives, he is fearless. But it’s some of the simple tasks that are taking some work.
“He’s more interested in things that are challenging, which is why he does well at them,” Ramacci’s coach and leader of the Northwest Indiana chapter of the Starz Diving Club, Tommy Slivka, said.
In just the second year of the organization based out of Indianapolis, and the first year of its competitive travel schedule, Ramacci will be representing the organization based out of Lake Central at this weekend’s national finals on the campus of Purdue University, starting Friday. He’s the first from the local organization to make it out of the regional event, which was hosted on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.
“I have quite a few that went and competed this past regional and they have quite a bit of goals for themselves,” Slivka said of the boys and girls in his program.
Ramacci’s journey to the next stage comes off strong showings in each of the three categories. In the one-meter dive (which is also used for IHSAA events) his third-place score moved him on. He also advanced, placing second in the three-meter category and winning gold on the platform (which is 15 feet off the ground). The platform is visually challenging for many young divers, but according to Slivka the elementary school student is excited to perform it.
“It’s strange, he’ll throw himself to the tower, no problem,” he said.
That passion will be key in the next round. There are 30 kids in each event that qualify, with 120 boys and 120 girls vying for success. Of his stronger dives, Ramacci (who’s in the 11-and-under group) will be showcasing a back 11/2 summer salt, 11/2 twist.
In general, Slivka (the girls and boys diving coach at Lake Central High School) sees plenty of potential for his pupil.
“He knows how to move his body,” he said. “As long as he stays passionate in the sport of diving, he’ll take it as far as he can take it.”
Following nationals, the summer schedule starts with the summertime regional at Purdue in June.
For more information about the local chapter of the Starz, contact Slivka at Slivka.Thomas@gmail.com.