The season has just begun, but Steamboat Springs diver Genna Bradley already knows where she will be when the state high school swimming championships roll around in February.
"I would say I was more excited than shocked," Bradley said of qualifying for the state meet Saturday - at the opening meet of the season. "My coach had been telling me that I was a lot better than last year. But I guess I didn't see it until I competed."
Bradley won the season's first event Saturday at Montrose. But more importantly, Bradley scored 315.60 points for the meet, which surpassed the 300 points needed to qualify for the state championships to be held in Fort Collins.
"This was our first major invitational, and it was a great way to kick off the season," Bradley's coach David Fix said. "She worked really hard this summer, and leading up to this season, I knew she had improved, and she proved it."
Bradley competed on the 1-meter springboard and faced athletes from seven other schools in Montrose.
The Steamboat Springs junior said she wasn't sure what to expect headed into the opening meet. She has been hampered by ankle injuries this fall, and she wasn't sure how she would stack up against the competition.
She suffered the injuries while cheerleading for Steamboat Springs High School in the fall. She said she hurt her left ankle about a month ago and hurt the other one just two weeks ago.
"It's great to get it out of the way," Bradley said of qualifying for state.
Bradley said she has learned several new jumps since last season and already has incorporated them into her performance.
"The good thing is that I've got all the dives I will need at state, and now, I just need to make them even better," she said.
Bradley will get a break during the holidays. Her next meet will be the Moffat County Invitational on Jan. 17.
"It usually takes four or five meets to make a state-qualifying score," Fix said. "This will give us a chance to focus on some of the bigger Front Range meets and to prepare for the state championships."
Bradley is the only diver on the Moffat County High School swim team this season. She's a junior at Steamboat Springs High School, but she competes for Moffat County because the sport is not offered here.
In the winter, the young diver travels to Craig three times a week for practice and completes dry-land training at home. She said she also has been able to use trampolines at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's training facility to work on some of her dives.