Swimming/Diving: Divers Go From Fierce Competitors To Friends

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Bobcat divers Morgan Srail and Haleigh Bartlett may have only been teammates for a few months, but they knew each other long before coming to Ohio University.

Haleigh Bartlett spent her high school diving days in Cuyahoga Falls, about 40 minutes south of Cleveland. About an hour north, in Avon Lake, Morgan Srail was also competing in high school diving.

“Getting into later years we started doing the same invitationals and stuff,” Srail said. The girls started competing against each other in invitationals their sophomore year, and both qualified for regionals and state competitions in diving.

“I definitely noticed her because she was very good and in high school and you notice people who are your competition,” Srail said.

Bartlett took third place that year in her first visit to state-level diving, while Srail finished 10th in her second appearance.

As juniors, the two girls met again in various invitational, regional and state diving meets. At state, Morgan came up with a 17th place finish, and Haleigh moved up the podium one spot from the previous year, to second.

It wasn’t until senior year that the friendly rivalry between the two really heated up. After competing against each other for a couple years, the girls knew that they had to keep improving to beat the other at the regional and state levels.

Again, Bartlett and Srail qualified for regionals. Srail scored 478.95 in the 11-dive competition to top Bartlett’s score of 471.20.

“We didn’t really interact that much until my senior year at states where we were warming up the night before,” Srail said. The girls talked about their future college options, Srail had already decided on Ohio, but Bartlett still was undecided, “I didn’t decide ‘til April.”

Srail recalled Ohio’s Diving coach, Russ Dekker, asking her to reach out to Bartlett and explain how she personally came to choose a school. The conversation that night sparked the first of many future interactions.

The next day, Bartlett took home the state title and Srail took second place, behind Bartlett by just under nine points.

Now, the two former competitors are teammates, working together to make Ohio’s diving team a force to be reckoned with in the MAC.

“We still definitely go back and forth, and we definitely want to just keep pushing each other to get better,” Bartlett said of their new relationship. 

Srail added, “We definitely are closer now that were on the same team.”

Next, the two will be diving for the Bobcats at the MAC Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 23-25 in Akron as teammates and friends.