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Terrapin wins Junior Pan Am gold


© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 15, 2001

Chris Colwill returned from Mexico City late Monday night with one gold medal and one bronze, making him feel as confident as he has ever been.

He's entitled. The medals came from last week's Junior Pan American games (ages 16-18).

Colwill won gold in the 1-meter springboard, bronze in the 3-meter and just missed a medal with a fourth-place finish in the 10-meter platform. "I was just out there trying to have fun," said Colwill on Tuesday after a long sleep at his Brandon home. "And as long as I'm having fun out there, I'm usually doing pretty well."

For much of the past two years, however, Colwill, a 16-year-old junior at Tampa Prep, was struggling with a growth spurt that sent him from 5 feet 1 to 5-8.

Before the growth, he had qualified for the Junior World Games. During it, he fell off of the competitive diving map.

"I had a lot of doubts there for a while," he said. "So I really wanted to make the team this year, and to make it was really an honor.

"I had forgotten what it was like to be on top. And now that I've won this, it has really given me a lot of motivation."

He believes his coordination has finally caught up to his growing body and is diving better than ever.

"I jump a lot higher than I used to, and I feel stronger," he said. "I notice a lot of the dives come easier now."

For the next couple of weeks, Colwill said he is going on his school's annual junior hiking trip in North Carolina and will "not dive at all."

"It's always fun to get a little break," he said. "But then after the break, I'll be ready to come back and go to work.

"I know I'm improving, but I also know I still have a lot of work to do."

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