Holy Trinity Diver

Elle Jacobsen holds up her gold medal from the Class 1A state meet. Jacobsen is the first Holy Trinity swimmer or diver to win a state championship. The senior has signed with Davidson University.

The fifth of 11 rounds had just been completed at the Class 1A state championship diving meet and Holy Trinity senior Elle Jacobsen decided to take a peek at the leaderboard.

“I usually don’t look,” she said. “I was just feeling it that day to look at the standings. It helped me a lot. It drove me to do better.”

Not only was Jacobsen leading after five rounds, she was leading after the 11th round, too. And you know what that means …

Elle Jacobsen is your state champ.

“It still was a pretty big surprise at the end,” she said. “Obviously, I’ve been wanting to complete this goal for four years and to finally accomplish it was pretty awesome.

“I was just ecstatic. All my friends were there, so I was hugging them (and) my coach. It was just nice to go out that way for my senior year and end it like that.”

Jacobsen is the first swimmer or diver from Holy Trinity to ever win a state championship.

“Holy Trinity is so proud of Elle,” athletic director James Phillips wrote in an email. “Winning a state championship is a momentous achievement. It takes commitment, sacrifice, talent and great mental strength to get to this level.

“Elle Jacobson will be remembered as one of Holy Trinity’s great athletes.”

Jacobsen, who has signed to dive at Davidson University, was a swimmer and golfer in her younger days. She started diving (her mother was a former diver and her father dived for a year) when she was nine, but then took a break until the sixth grade. As a freshman in Naperville, Illinois, she finished fifth individually and was part of a state championship team.

She moved back to Brevard County as a sophomore and finished second in the state last season by 18 points. Undaunted, she kept working to tighten up her dives, even changing some positions and switching up her diving order, finishing this year with a front double pike.

Ultimately, Jacobsen scored 466.10 points to win the title. One of her best friends, Lana Schmadeke from Edgewood finished second with 394.70 points.

Being able to stay calm and focused and nail those final dives when she knew the title was within her reach are just a sign of how far Jacobsen has come over the past four years.

“I’ve gotten a lot better with my mental state during meets,” she said. ‘Freshman year, I did well, but I was always nervous. I would always be by myself, listening to music because I thought that was the way to do it. So, of course, I’d be nervous and overthink things.

“My (club) coach that I have right now, Jim Kelly, he’s really helped me be more positive and more confident with my dives. I know at state this year, I was talking to my friends. I was dancing. I was having fun, which usually helps with the dives.

“I’ve grown mentally. And of course, my dives have changed. I’ve worked pretty hard to increase my degree of difficulty in diving and get better and more consistent with them.”

Kelly, who coaches at Osprey Zap Dive (OZD) in Sebastian, had nothing but praise for Jacobsen.

“We are so proud of her,” he wrote in an email. “She is the ultimate leader by example. She is kind, considerate, cooperative and appreciates the importance of humor — even though she doesn’t always get coach jokes.

“Her helpful style and hard work ethic shows in each practice. Her courage, determination and effort is on display in each practice. Besides being an overall beautiful human being, she is one heck of a beautiful diver. Her superstar record of the past few years speaks for itself. OZD is so proud and so happy, Davidson is so lucky.”

Jacobsen also thanked her high school coach, Ryan Just, for helping her develop into the diver she is today.

And now it’s onto the future. Jacobsen said her goals right now are to enjoy swimming in college and to qualify for the NCAA zone meet, which could help lead her to dive in the NCAA championships. She plans to major in biology with a track toward pre-med or pre-dentistry.

“Elle is definitely someone we are going to be watching in the future,” Holy Trinity swimming coach Tiffany DeAngelis wrote in an email. “She is a true athlete who embodies her sport with grace and fierceness.  Her kindness, dedication and overall awesomeness is going to take her far.”