Five Long Beach McCormick Divers are headed to CIFSS Championships in Riverside this week in three divisions.

 Division 1

Three McCormick Divers are headed to Division 1 CIFSS Championships in Riverside. Two Los Alamitos Freshman, Nicole Bliss is the new Sunset League Varsity Champion. Along with her first Sunset League Diving title, Bliss won her first League Track title, Frosh/Soph Girls 800 meter race on the same day. Bliss was able to compete in both diving and track finals and during the regular season because of the cooperation between her two coaches.

Throughout the season, Los Alamitos Diving Coach, Shane Butler and Track Coach, Nathan Howard coordinated to assure that Bliss could attend as many dive and track meets as possible, including Sunset League Finals which took place on the same day. The dive meet schedule was arranged to allow Bliss to complete all of her dives in time to get to Huntington Beach for her race. She won the 800-meter run with 2:27:02, a time quicker than the winning J.V. time.

Bliss heads to CIFSS Division 1 Diving Championships in Riverside along with Los Al and McCormick teammate Junior, Madelyn “Dolly” Payne who finished third in League Finals. Payne won the Sunset League title the past two years. She says she is not at all upset about losing the title to Bliss. Payne says “Nicole earned it. She’s a great diver.” Bliss also won Sunset League Diver of the Year.

Mater Dei Junior, Leo Wiviott is the lone Long Beach Boy diver headed to CIFSS Division 1. He and fellow McCormick Divers have been competing by invitation at the Sunset League meets since there are currently no regularly scheduled Long Beach high school diving meets for Moore League, Trinity and Free Lance League Schools.

 Division 2

Long Beach Poly Sophomore, Chad King is the only Long Beach diver representing Moore League at CIFSS Division 2 Championships. King has been battling injuries since last summer, missing most diving events until the high school season started. With a trip to Division 2 Championships, King is in great shape to start the regular 2014 dive season. Like King, fellow McCormick Diver and Long Beach Poly Sophomore, Alyssa Wren had to step away from diving for most of the season due to injuries.

Division 3

St. Anthony Junior, Olivia Payne has been earning top scores at all of the High School Invitational Meets she has entered. As a Long Beach resident, she has been attending the Sunset League Meets to fulfill her CIFSS qualifications.

All of these Long Beach divers have been training at the ML King Pool year round while the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool is being rebuilt. Long Beach Poly and Los Al divers have the added benefit of diving boards at their pool on campus. While it will be too late for our current high school divers, the Long Beach diving community looks forward to holding CIFSS Championships in Long Beach again as was the tradition for many CIFSS Masters.

Sports Guy Mike Guardabascio has been writing professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the historical book "Football in Long Beach."

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