GERMANTOWN — Madeline “Maddy” Pfaff went through her normal pre-dive routine ahead of her 11th and final dive in the 2018 Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center. She stood off to the side of the diving board, visualizing her final dive.
It was a scenario that was all too familiar for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Baron. Last year at this same meet, Pfaff led Seneca Valley’s Hannah Montau in the final round, but a slight mistake from Pfaff and an exceptional dive from Montau allowed her to surge in front and take the victory.
This year, Montau trailed Pfaff by about 15 points heading into the final round.
“I was so nervous on that last dive because in warmups I wasn’t really hitting it,” Pfaff said. “I replayed last year’s outcome a lot, and I was like ‘Man I got to hit my dives for real this time.’”
Pfaff did hit her dive this time, scoring a 46.2 in the final round, and getting her total score up to 485.5, which would be enough to win Metros, and set a new school record in the process.
It didn’t take long for the competition to emerge as a two-horse race between Pfaff and Montau, as expected.
In the first three rounds, Montau went with difficult dives, which she nailed, allowing her to pull out in front of the competition. Montau led at the end of each of the first three rounds. Though after the third round, the tide began to turn, as Montau started to mix in her easier dives, while Pfaff brought out her difficult ones. Pfaff passed Montau and took control of first place after round four, and never looked back.
“I had a good feeling at the first cut that this might be her day,” B-CC Swim and Dive coach Jason Blanken said.
After the cuts following the eighth round, Pfaff led Montau by just over 26 points, while Montau had a lead of more than 35 points over the third-place diver. Montau attempted to make a comeback, just as she had done a year ago, but Pfaff remained poised, and continued to post strong scores in the final rounds, including a 50.6 in round nine.
Pfaff, who will compete at Duke University next year, shined under pressure, and came out on top. She finished with a 485.50 score, which broke the previous school record, which Pfaff held, at 471.10. Montau finished second with a score of 465.45, and Meredith Canova rounded out the top three with a score of 397.15.
“It feels pretty good, I’m pretty excited,” Pfaff said of winning the championship.