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Injured diver Ashcraft never backed down

Class L champ competed hurt at open to complete four-year career with Wave

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It had to hurt bouncing, twisting in the air and splashing down at the state open. (Darien Times/Steven Buono file photo)

DIVING

Senior captain Caroline Ashcraft did not place anywhere near where her ability or third place qualifying numbers would have promised, finishing eighth at the state open meet recently.

But nobody promised her this: Ashcraft was injured at practice prior to the open — the biggest meet of her life.

It happened to her on the cusp of greatness. Because, if it had been forever before Wave girls swim-dive won the state open — as it did for the first time at Yale as a full team Nov. 17 — it isn’t all that much more frequent for Darien to have a diver hovering over a state open title bid either.

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Ashcraft slips into the water off a high scoring dive early this season, where she ended up state champ. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)

But that is where Ashcraft hovered, after winning Class L and making such a splash — lack of one, really — with ace dives to qualify third for the open meet.

According to her family, Ashcraft — whose sister Lexi was a standout medalist diver on the Wave before her in recent years, and who dives year round — had been undergoing intensive physical therapy all week and was given “a small degree of clearance” to dive that Friday night, only because so much was riding on the outcome.

History was calling.

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Caroline Ashcraft has been a scoring diver from the start her four years on the Wave. (Darien Times/Steven Buono photo)

And Ashcraft answered, through gritting teeth and through a veil of discomfort to make it through the full program.

The diagnosis is anywhere from a bone fracture to a torn muscle in the lower back, according to her family, and she dove with considerable pain all meet.

And for it, she saw her senior goal slip away as she kept her emotions submerged.

Darien made it to the opens winners circle on the depth of its team, and the team depth starts above the waterline with Ashcraft and crew.

“This was for the team tonight and she did not back down,” said her dad Russ. “I could not be more proud.”

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Darien Times Sports Editor since 2000

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