KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Carson Tyler is in exclusive company in the annals of Moss Farms Diving … if he didn’t begin a new club all by himself during the 2019 USA Diving Junior Nationals.

Tyler’s goal going to the University of Tennessee was to be a winner, to take the No. 1 spot on the podium. While that didn’t happen, he did get up there three times with three top three finishes in the individual events.

“Great job,” said head coach John Fox via telephone with The Moultrie Observer Monday. “Unbelieveable. I don’t know the last time anyone (from Moss Farms) doing that. I’m very excited. He wanted to win, but I see so much growth.”

And perhaps the biggest outcome of Tyler’s performances …

“USA Diving is excited about where he is,” said Fox. All the individual events for the Junior Nationals ended Monday, but the meet as a whole concluded Tuesday. That is when synchronized diving took place, and Tyler was in it with Max Miller from Woodlands Diving Academy. Fox said a good showing in this 3-meter event could land Tyler a spot in the Junior Pan-American Games.

Everything for Tyler at Junior Nationals began Saturday with third place in the 14-15 boys platform. So he was already guaranteed matching his results from the 2018 USA Junior Nationals when he placed third in the 3-meter springboard.

But on Saturday, there was a new accomplishment for Tyler in that he placed first in the semifinals. Fox said dropping down to third overall in the finals was a disappointment for Tyler.

“You have to learn,” said Fox. “There’s a lot of stress and pressure involved.

“But he came back. He could have crumbled.”

Tyler’s comeback was on Sunday, the day of the 14-15 boys 1-meter springboard. He placed second in the semifinals at 393.6. This was a nine-dive event, and Tyler had the best score of the opening round (forward 1 1/2 somersault pike) and seven top 10s.

For the second finals in a row, Tyler placed third overall. There were four dives in the 1-meter final, and he won the final round with a 64.5 in the reverse 2 1/2 somersault tuck. His final tally was 402.25.

On Monday, Tyler dominated the semifinals of the 3-meter springboard with an average score of 50.51. His best was a 63 on the reverse 2 1/2 somersault tuck, and in all he received 454.6 in scores.

Tyler looked bound for that No. 1 spot in the finals as he “crushed” the first two dives with his best scores ever, according to Fox (66 and 68.6).

“He was super high, and then he missed (on the third dive),” said Fox. Basically, Tyler received less than half of those scores in the third round, but then came back in the finale with another 68.6. That gave him 448.1 with the winning score being 453.5.

“He said ‘I’m happy. I want to make Pan-Am,’” said Fox.

Moss Farms had two others reach USA Diving Junior Nationals on Monday. Bo Bridges is also in the 14-15 boys group, and he slipped into the 3-meter finals coming in 11th (the top 12 advance to finals). His semifinal score was 378.05.

Fox said Bridges knew he needed at least a 50 to get into the top 12 as he entered the final round. But the coach said Bridges did so much better, in fact it was Bridges’ best Reverse 2 1/2 Somersault Tuck ever. The judging agreed giving him the best score of the ninth round, a 63.

“Old Bo would have missed,” said Fox. Bridges maintained his 11th place spot through the finals.

Nolan Lewis, according to Fox, was the youngest diver in Group A (16-18) to reach the boys platform final Monday having just turned 16 years old. In the semifinals, Lewis placed 11th at 446.5. This was a 10-dive event going from 5 to 10 meters. With a 7-meter back 2 1/2 somersault tuck, Lewis got a 60.2.

In the finals, Lewis placed 12th at 457.2.

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