April 06, 2020

Bangor’s Hayes among the best divers in state

Bangor diver Brooke Hayes has been dominant on the state diving scene for almost as long as she has been competing on the boards.

As a sophomore she won the Penobscot Valley Championship and last year took the state championship – but she has never won both in the same season.

This year, winning both titles is a goal for Hayes, now a senior. So far this season, she has Class A’s highest point total for six dives, a 209.9.

“I’d love to get them both this year,” she said.

Hayes set the mark at the Rams’ Dec. 22 meet against Orono. Her lowest score on a dive was a 5 1/2. The highest was a rare 9 1/2, on a forward 1 1/2 somersault in the pike position.

“It wasn’t that she was good on that day. She’s just always that good,” Bangor diving coach David Campbell said.

Hayes is also a team player, despite excelling in a decidedly non-team sport. Twice this season she has swum the leadoff leg of a Bangor 200 free relay team, just for fun. Occasionally she shows up at swim practices, which are held at a different time than diving practice, to get in a few laps and visit with the swimmers.

“It’s like a family here,” said Hayes, who is one of the captains. “I always try to interact with the swim team and I love being a part of it. I like to make an effort to meet as many people as possible.”

Originally a gymnast, Hayes started diving in ninth grade and has left an impression ever since. She finished third at states the year she won the PVC Championship and was second at PVCs before she won states as a junior.

Hayes received an early acceptance at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she plans to study International Relations or public affairs and dive for the Panthers. Division I Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., actively recruited Hayes, but she was more interested in a Division III school like Middlebury, where she can focus on her studies.

“Academics are important for me first, and then I wanted a good place to dive,” she said. “Middlebury has a good program.”

In high school, Hayes has only competed on the 1-meter board. In college, she will have to learn to compete off the high board.

“I’ve done it before but not in competition. I’ll have to learn how to do the 3-meter,” she said.

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