Michael Menton has been competing in the pool since he was in elementary school, but it was only in his sophomore year at Louisa County High School that his focus switched from swimming to diving.
“We had a bunch of seniors come out for the [dive] team that year, and coach [Debra Bickley] asked if I wanted to give it a try,” he recalled. “I started diving that day.”
Menton made a splash from the diving board that season, claiming the Class 4 state championship title with a winning score of 267.40, an achievement he says is one of his favorite memories of competing in Louisa. He wasn’t alone on the podium either. Three of his senior teammates – Michael Pulchaski, Tristan Snyder and Coleman Rosson – garnered second, third and fourth-place finishes in the state tournament as well.
“That was what really got me hooked, competing with my senior teammates that year,” Menton said. “I made a lot of friends on that team, and we still stay in touch.”
One of the things Menton says he likes about both swimming and diving is that, even though he is a part of a team, when it comes to his events, he’s competing as an individual.
“I have one opportunity to either fail or succeed,” he said. “It’s all up to me in that moment.”
Menton plans to continue diving in college, having formally committed to join the Virginia Military Institute diving team next year.
“I’m excited to continue to do something I love [in college],” he said. “I’m excited to be at VMI and enjoy the culture there.
“I wanted to go to a military school,” he continued, “and when I took a tour of the school ... they weren’t number one on my list until the dive coach reached out and said that he wanted me on the team. I know I can get everything I need academically and be able to dive.”
As Menton prepares to take the next step in his life’s journey, he’s also taking time to reflect on what he’s leaving behind.
“I’m going to miss my teammates and competing in Louisa County,” he said. “I’ve grown up here and competed here for years.”