Brownsville Veterans Memorial diver Nico Alvarez placed seventh in the 1-meter diving event at the UIL state finals Saturday at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin.
Making his first trip to state, Alvarez, a junior, scored a 368.90 in the prelims and a 340.95 in the final. He was the only Brownsville athlete to advance to state and one of two Class 5A divers from the Rio Grande Valley to qualify for this weekend’s event in Austin.
“Not only did he not drop, but he improved,” Brownsville ISD diving coach Mark Schlatter said. “He was seeded eighth (after competing in Friday’s prelims) and finished seventh.”
Among the dives Alvarez completed were an inward dive pike and a back one-and-a-half somersault with a half-twist.
The key to Alvarez’s success, he and his coach agreed, was his composure.
“The first part was his consistency during the different dives,” Schlatter said. “Second was his ability to stay calm and focused. I tried to tell him to stay calm, not to worry about what everybody else was doing,”
“It’s really easy to get nervous in these big meets,” Alvarez said. “But I think the thing that I’m proud of is how I stayed calm.”
Alvarez had a large contingent of supporters who made the trip to Austin to cheer him on, and he returned to a flood of text messages and well wishes from friends and family back home.
“I had my parents, grandparents, my school principal, and I had cousins that came to watch me as well,” Alvarez said.
Now that Alvarez has tasted success at state and performed well under pressure, the former gymnast is setting the bar higher for his senior year.
“It’s a big relief,” Alvarez said. “Because I know I can improve and hopefully try to go back to state and get a medal next year.”