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SLIDESHOW: EHS GIRLS SWIM AND DIVE: Talented underclassman light up future for Enumclaw team
It was a glimpse into the future for Enumclaw High girls swim and dive coach Ann Bettencourt as she watched sophomore Erica Bonthuis and freshman Bella Davenport represent the Hornets at the Class 3A state championships Friday and Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
“They did really well,” Bettencourt smiled. “I’m very proud of Erica and Bella. They did very well.”
Bonthuis, a last-minute, wildcard entry into the 1-meter diving competition, survived two cuts and scored high enough in preliminaries Friday to carry her into the Saturday morning’s finals, where she completed the final three dives of the 11-dive contest to finish 13th with 242.75 points.
“I did all right,” the first-year diver said. “It wasn’t my best.”
“She’s hard on herself and doesn’t like to be in the spotlight,” EHS dive coach Steve Bannerot said. “She’s done amazing.”
Bonthuis started diving after a back injury pushed her off the gymnastics mat.
Bannerot thought diving would present the same pressures to her back, but it never became a factor, and she adapted quickly to the challenges diving presents over gymnastics. Working with Bannerot and veteran senior EHS diver Alicia McDougall, Bonthuis started slow and was fearful, but learned a new dive every week.
“To go from two dives to 11 dives and then go all the way to the state finals is remarkable,” Bannerot said.
After learning late of her allocation into the state meet, Bonthuis dealt most of the week with illness and hardly practiced before Thursday’s preliminaries.
She came in ranked 19th among 24 divers and worked her way up to the final score.
This year’s success, Bonthuis said, will bring her back to the pool. But she’s also going to step back into gymnastics, she said. It’s a natural progression, since her parents own Enumclaw’s Peak Gymnastics.
Davenport, who earned her spot at the state meet with a top-seven finish in the 100-yard breaststroke at the West Central District contest, was the second alternate into the finals, racing to a time of 1-minute, 14.68 seconds in Friday’s preliminaries. She, too, battled illness during most of the week prior to the state meet. A club swimmer, she plans to continue working in the offseason for a return trip in the fall.
This year’s state experience will be a boost to the Hornets’ lineup next season as the team will suffer a couple of big losses due to graduation.