As of Thursday, February 4, 2016
SUNNYSIDE Parker Van De Graaf has been in the shadows of the sports scene despite being one of the most promising athletes in the valley.
Swimming since he was 7 years old, the Sunnyside native spent most of his early days doing flips into the water.
“I had always been doing flips and things like that, so I thought about giving diving a try,” Van De Graaf said.
Van De Graaf now practicing with West Valley High School in Yakima, but continues to represent Sunnyside Christian in high school competition.
“My first year has been lots of fun,” he said. “And I’ve been learning new dives since the start of the season.”
He has gotten the hang of diving quickly, scoring 183 points in six dive and 310 for 11 dive.
His scores rank him among the league’s best divers. And his top score in the 11 dive is just 10 points shy of state qualification.
“I’m still in the learning process and I’m really looking forward to getting better,” he said.
Tomorrow, Van De Graaf competes in the district dive preliminaries at Moses Lake High School, 803 Sharon Ave. E., Moses Lake.
Competition begins at 10 a.m., with the diving finals starting at 3:15 p.m.
He’s not the only area athlete hitting the pool.
The Grandview and Prosser swim teams are competing at districts today in Moses Lake.
All nine swimmers will be vying to proceed to the second day of districts — this Saturday — for the finals.
Micah Binfet and Tavian Valenzuela will be competing in the 100-yard breast stroke.
Tavian and Levi Russell will participate in the 50-yard free with Levi also competing in the 100 backstroke.
Coach Patrick Elerding said these are “all top events to watch” also adding that the swimmers “have an excellent chance of advancing to state in those events.”
Swimming events start at 3:30 p.m. today in the high school pool.
Qualifiers will advance to the finals Saturday, with events beginning at 3:15 p.m.