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Published: October 21, 2009 11:39 pm

GIRLS DIVING: McInerney dives in head first

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

It’s hard to believe Megan McInerney had any time to get all done up for a Homecoming date with her boyfriend Alex Neutz last weekend.

That’s because every other day of the week, she’s got her nose in the books, she’s doubling up her practice sessions and even squeezing in some volunteer time for church and charity.

“It’s a lot to handle all at once, but Megan is special because she’s great at applying her time,” Grand Island swimming and diving coach Christen Kane said.

A big chunk of that time is spent between the pools of GI and UB. Four days a week, McInerney gets some work in at school practice before making the trip to Amherst for more extensive work with her personal coaches at Wings Diving Club.

The senior joined Wings after her freshman year, which was the first time she had ever tried diving. McInerney did compete had 12 years of gymnastics experience and found there to be some similarities between the sports.

“I figured with the flips and tumbling from gymnastics, I might be pretty good at diving,” she said, while noting that she also participated in competition cheerleading.

Turns out she was right. By her sophomore year she was a sectional qualifier and last fall she took third at the very competitive Niagara Frontier League championships.

This year, she’s continued to improve to the point where she broke Niagara-Wheatfield’s pool record and came up just a few points shy of GI’s pool record. She also picked up a big dual-meet win against Sammy Johnson of North Tonawanda Tuesday.

“If she dives the way she did (Tuesday), she’s going to right at the top of the NFL,” Kane said, while also mentioning Lockport’s Paige Kelkenberg and Ashley Keller among the top contenders.

McInerney added, “I’m definitely confident going into NFLs (next week). Competition makes me dive better and I’ve been working hard, so I hope it pays off.”

Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.