Seemingly destined to dive, Leanne and Dwight Dumais are doing just that at the 2000 Winter Olympics West national meet that began Saturday and continues today at the McDonald's Swim and Dive Stadium at USC.
The meet includes more than 200 top age-group divers 13-18 from California, Arizona and Nevada in one-meter and three-meter springboard competitions.
As usual, the Dumais family is represented in a national-caliber meet.
Leanne Dumais, 15, a freshman at Buena High, won the girls' 16-18 division on both boards at a qualifying meet in Arizona last week.
"I don't know how I ended up winning," she said. "Everybody was much older. I went into it thinking if I made the top five, I'd be happy."
After this weekend's competition, Leanne's next accomplishment could be to equal the achievements of older brothers Justin, Troy and Brice Dumais.
All three won Southern Section Division I diving titles before graduating from Buena and moving on to the college ranks. Troy and Justin are at Texas and Brice is a freshman at Southern Methodist.
Leanne, a member of the 1999 World Junior Diving team, has attained a qualifying score for the Southern Section Division I preliminaries next month.
But she isn't looking past this weekend.
"It's a goal, but I'm not going to put any pressure on myself," she said. "I'm a different person from [my brothers], and I don't even pay attention to [what they do] anymore. I want to make my own pathway. I don't want them to pave it for me."
Dwight, 14, the youngest member of the family, would like to make a name for himself as well. He placed fifth on the three-meter springboard for 14- and 15-year-olds last weekend and will compete only in that event this weekend after a disappointing seventh-place showing on the one-meter board in Arizona.
"It makes it a lot harder," said Dwight, a student at Balboa Middle School in Ventura. "I have a lot of expectations, and it means I've got to dive my very best on just one board."
Josh Joffred of Thousand Oaks, finished behind Dwight Dumais last week, placing sixth in three-meter competition.
Buddy bags are back, and working out better than ever for the Hart girls' swim team.
Before each meet, each Hart swimmer receives a buddy bag--no more than $5 worth of energy drinks, bars or other treats--from a teammate as part of a program spearheaded by sophomore Shannon Coskran and junior Christine Castellano.
Coskran and Castellano paired up partners to exchange buddy bags during the preseason, and the swimmers have traded the small gifts throughout the year.
"Everyone has participated," Castellano said. "Everybody loves it. It's a good way to get people excited about the meets."
Coach Steve Neale of Hart didn't think it was such a great thing a few years ago, when buddy bags were delivered by Neale rather than by swimmers.
He remembers trash being left on buses, people being left out when some swimmers didn't bring bags, and extra work for himself making deliveries.
"It was always a semi-disaster, and I said, 'I'm not going to deliver them,' " Neale said. "But the girls liked the idea of a team thing."
The Granada Hills boys' swim team has gained depth from a group of athletes competing simultaneously on the track and field team.
Seniors Bart Krol and Satoshi Muso and junior David Merrel endure a hectic schedule to contribute in both sports.
"It's pretty tough," Krol said. "Sometimes I'd come home and be totally wiped out. But it gets easier and easier."
Krol, a pole vaulter with a best of 11-6, joined the swim team to improve his upper-body strength and conditioning.
Krol, Muso and Merrel generally miss track practice on Mondays, when City swimming dual meets are scheduled, and they miss swim practice on Fridays, when track meets take place.
They participate in swim practice from 5-6:30 a.m. and track practice in the afternoon.
Said Krol, "Some days, if there's a tough swim practice and then a tough track practice, I'll come home and go to sleep at six o'clock."