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Freshman plunges into record book

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoIt’s an understatement to say freshman Caleb Percevecz ofthe Wisconsin men?s diving team believes in the old clich? that records aremeant to be broken.For the first few months of his collegiate career, Caleb hasbeen adhering to that statement. He set a new school record for the platformearly in the season, and then a month later, Percevecz broke his own mark. ?I guess everyone is always shooting to break a record orwin something,? Percevecz said. ?My name is going to be up on the board, that?scool. That will be a good feeling.?Percevecz scored a 274.60 at the Texas Invitational in lateNovember, beating the 253.55 mark set by UW?s Josh Bonner in 2006. At theHawaiian Invitational in January, Percevecz topped his previous record with ascore of 286.80.?I wasn?t focusing on the record,? Percevecz said. ?It?salways a personal best-type thing. The record just happened to be within mygrasp.?The swimming and diving team, however, couldn?t be morepleased with the addition of Percevecz, who as a senior last year was named theMale Athlete of the Year at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.?He?s one of the hardest working kids I have,? UW swimmingand diving coach Tom Michael said. ?Caleb is the first one in and the last oneout.??He?s a really hard worker, so he inspires everyone to dothe same,? sophomore diver Emily Cheffins said. Cheffins is another record-setting diver on the Badgerssquad. The sophomore bettered a score by UW?s Amanda Witte set in 2006.  Cheffins’ mark of 251.70 on theplatform at the Hawaiian Invitational also became the best score at UW.She added that learning from Percevecz has helped her overcomethe stress of competitions.?Caleb lightens the mood because [diving] can get kind offrustrating sometimes,? Cheffins said. ?He?s always really positive and jokingaround. … The atmosphere of meets is that everyone is tenser. Caleb is goodat not letting things get to his head.?Percevecz?s diving interest stemmed from an early six-yearcareer as a gymnast. But after watching his sister at swimming practice, henoticed some of the divers. After giving it a try, he soon changed sports.?I wanted to get out of the gym,? Percevecz said. ?[Diving]is fun, it?s easy, and it?s nice on the body.?In high school, Percevecz enjoyed an illustrious career inwhich he won the state diving crown all four years. This caught the eye ofcoach Michael during the recruiting process.?The diving community is very small,? Michael said. ?I?vebeen going to all of the same meets as him, and I watched him grow up andprogress. ? I?ve known him since he was probably 10 years old, and he?s alwaysbeen a high level diver.?Initially, the decision to come to Wisconsin from sunnyArizona didn’t come easy, even though coach Michael and Percevecz had developeda bond. But when Percevecz took a tour of the campus and visited the team, hewas sold on diving for the Badgers.?When I came out for my recruiting trip, they really made mefeel like part of the team, like they really wanted me here,? Percevecz said.?It was a cool thing to be a part of. … There was an awesome feeling betweenthe swimmers and the divers. It was all one team, everyone hangs out, andeveryone-gets-along-type thing.?With one semester under his belt, Percevecz has enjoyed histime in Madison, with the Badgers no doubt enjoying having the freshman ontheir team.Next up for the men and women?s swimming and diving team arethe Big Ten Quad Duals, followed by the Big Ten Championship and later the NCAAChampionships.   Even with a school record in his pocket, there is still workto be done for Percevecz and the Badgers. ?Where he jumps off the diving board into the air to do histakeoff, he?s just a little too quick in that,? Michael said. If he fixes this,however, Michael said, ?Caleb is going to be unstoppable.?last_img

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