Florence City Pool has its very own flying fish.
Ezra Darnall and Calib Mallory catch big air off the pool’s diving board. They bust out some nimble gymnastic tricks, too.
“It’s a big deal to the little kids that watch them,” pool manager Lori Kirkpatrick said. “They’ll start cheering and some will fight over who gets to dry off the diving board railing for Calib.”
Calib, 14, prefers the bars dry so he can get a better grip.
“I just let them do it,” he said.
He pulls himself to a running start then springs off the end of the diving board into the air above the water.
“I jump more up than out,” he said. “The board is three feet tall at most, so I’m looking for as much height as I can get.”
Once in the air, he usually performs a double front flip.
“Calib comes to the pool almost every day,” Kirkpatrick said. “He’s perfected the double. It’s beautiful. ”
Calib has been swimming at Florence pool since last summer, before that he swam at a different pool. Recently, Calib added a trick called an aerial to his repertoire.
An aerial is essentially a front flip with a twist, only the trickster performing it should splash down facing the diving board.
Calib learned it from Ezra, 17.
“I just listen and try new things,” Mallory said. “It’s fun. I like how the little kids want us to go off the board so many times.”
Calib shows younger divers how to do diving board tricks, too, except, he said, he still had a few kinks to work out on his aerial.
“When I do it, I can’t keep my body as straight as Ezra does,” Calib said. “He keeps his perfectly straight.”
Kirkpatrick said Ezra’s diving board performance is impressive.
“When he goes off the board, he gets such great height, and when he flips he stays straight as a board,” she said. “He stays in the air a long time and can turn it into a dive or a toothpick if he wants.”
Ezra and Calib have developed a friendly competition.
“He caught on to some things I was doing pretty fast,” Ezra said. “We kind of push each other to do better.”
Since the board is so close to the water, Ezra said, it takes a lot of height, tuck, and spin to pull off the trick they both do.
“I pretty much grew up at the pool,” Ezra said. “I’ve tried everything and done plenty of belly flops. It hurts if you hit the water wrong, but it just makes me want to get back up and try again.”