In 2008, Tiffany Etterman started it.
Katy Etterman continued it the same year.
Beth Etterman has maintained it.
“It” is the Etterman family tradition of diving excellence. Tiffany and Katy competed in the 2008 state meet together. Katy qualified for state her final two seasons for the Brainerd Warriors before heading to the University of Minnesota where she’s currently a junior.
Beth, a senior, has finished 11th and 13th in her two state diving appearances and hopes to end her career with another trip to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in November.
Before graduating, Katy held Warrior girls school records for 11 dives (438 points) and for six dives (270.3). On Oct. 12, Beth smashed Katy’s 11-dive record on her way to winning the Section 8-2A True Team meet with a 445.1 score.
Entering the True Team meet, Beth thought she had a shot to win, but she knew St. Michael-Albertville’s Jessie Metz, the eventual runner-up, would pose a challenge. Her goal was to beat Metz and she pulled away from the start.
“After our top eight dives, I had a pretty good lead,” Etterman said. “I looked at my score and realized I needed to score about 100 points if I wanted to break Katy’s record. I wasn’t thinking about (the record) until then.
“I was thinking after each dive that if I put in this dive I would score this many points. My last dive was an inward one and a half. I needed 38 points to beat Katy. I was exactly at 400. I did pretty well on it and got 445.
“When you were climbing out of the pool, they would say your point total right after your dive. I heard them say 45 (points) but I thought they said 35 and I thought ‘No, that didn’t happen.’ When I ran around to look at the scoreboard I jumped up and gave a little hug to one of the girls, but there were still more girls competing so I sat down.”
Etterman’s goal was to break both of her sister’s records but she settled for the 11-dive mark since the 6-dive dual meet season has ended. Her 6-dive personal best was 233.2 against Fergus Falls this season.
Warriors diving coach Mary Streiff believes Katy’s records motivated Beth.
“But I also think Beth at the True Team just put it together from top to bottom. Her 11 dives were just solid,” Streiff said. “She wasn’t thinking about the (11-dive) record until she got close to the finals, then she was adding some points in her head.
“I knew she was having a flawless day, but I didn’t know where that put us point-wise because I couldn’t watch the scoreboard.
“Beth came into the meet real confident. Her dives were going well, she had a good warmup, one dive at a time she just picked them off.”
The True Team meet put an exclamation point on a season during which Beth has won all 10 dual meets and two invitationals. Streiff believes Etterman may be the only Warrior female diver during her tenure to go unbeaten during the regular season.
“Beth pretty much has been ‘Steady Eddie,’” Streiff said. “She likes to be in control. As soon as she gets into competition mode you can count on her to be your go-to girl. She doesn’t make many mistakes. If she does make a mistake, she’s pretty quick to redeem herself.
“There were a few 6-dive meets where a few things have gone wrong, but she pulled out some amazing dives. She’s that kind of competitor. It’s pretty amazing what she’s done, always being on top.”
Beth has her sisters to thank for steering her into becoming a diver.
“We’ve always been in gymnastics so we had the flip concept down,” said Beth, who plans to join Katy at Minnesota next year. “Tiffany and Katy joined diving so I just joined with them.
“I always looked up to them. I tried to be like them and I’ve outdone them sometimes. I guess our family is the flipping type.”
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.