ELLSWORTH — Two Ellsworth divers spent the latter half of April break in South Florida over the weekend competing in the YMCA’s national diving championships in Fort Lauderdale.
Twelve-year-old twins Kiera and Kaela Springer competed in 1-meter division of the girls’ 12-13 age group Thursday through Sunday against some of the nation’s top youth divers. The two represented the Bangor YMCA as the first Ellsworth natives to ever participate in the competition.
The twins are daughters of Ellsworth’s Doug and Kristel Springer, who opened Springers Gymnastics Center on the Bucksport Road back in 2005. Diving and gymnastics, their father said, are two sports that go hand in hand with one another.
“It’s a natural transition because of the aerobic aspect of it,” said Doug Springer, who also coaches the gymnastics team at Springers. “If you’re talented at one and enjoy it, you’re probably going to feel the same about the other. Many of the gymnasts here are also divers.”
Although the twins were faced with some of the country’s most talented youth divers, the two were still able to hold their own. Kiera finished 15th with a final score of 211.65, and Kaela finished the competition in 17th with a final score of 206.95.
“Our girls had their best meet of the season with their best scores so far,” Doug Springer said “It was a very positive experience for them.”
Despite swimming’s popularity throughout Ellsworth and Hancock County, the same chances on the diving board are much harder to find than they are elsewhere in the state. The twins had to compete with the Bangor YMCA because the Down East Family YMCA does not have a diving platform.
Yet that hasn’t hindered the Springer twins so far, and the two plan on going even further. Doug Springer said his daughters want to be the first divers on the Ellsworth swim team when they reach the high school level in less than three years’ time.
“They just love the sport and everything about it,” Springer said. “We’re excited to see where it takes them from here.”