Justice Murray was eliminated in the semifinal round at the state swim and dive finals in St. Peters, finishing 19th overall. Dylan Murray finished 22nd during the preliminary round, just missing the cut to advance to the semifinals.
As the Missouri state swim and dive championships get underway Thursday evening, two Republic brothers will be competing in the same event. Senior Dylan Murray and sophomore Justice Murray both qualified for the state diving competition based on their high scores for the season. Justice was the first to punch his ticket to state, with Dylan learning he’d qualified a few days later.
Competitors in both swimming and diving can automatically earn a spot at the state competition by achieving a minimum qualifying result. For swimmers, that’s a certain time in a particular race. For divers, it’s a minimum judge’s score. A few additional “consideration” slots may be open in an event, depending on how many competitors make the cut.
It all came down to the last dive of the season for Justice Murray. His score on that last dive beat the minimum qualifying score, ensuring that he would participate in the state meet at St. Peters this week.
“I was super excited. It’s been a goal all year to make the cut…and it was just the best feeling,” he said. “I looked over at my parents, and they were excited – but everybody was excited. The team was excited. Other teams were excited, because they knew it’s something I’ve been working for all season.”
Throughout the final meet of the regular season, the brothers were neck-and-neck, with Justice holding a slight lead over his older brother.
“We just kept looking at each other and he said, ‘I’m coming for you,” Justice said. “It’s really cool to be the first … to be going to state. We have everybody’s support, and being the first ever Republic Tiger swim and dive member to go to state, it’s really cool.”
But for Dylan Murray, things weren’t so simple. He had to wait a few days to find out whether his score, which was below the automatic qualifying line, would earn him a spot in St. Peters.
“It was really stressful, because I worked all season for this and I was hitting all my dives in this meet,” he said. “There’s nothing else I could have done.”
It turned out Dylan’s score was the second-best consideration score, easily earning a spot ahead of 15 others who qualified. Now he gets to dive alongside his brother in his one and only season of high school diving.
“That’s crazy, because we’re the first ones and we were talking about this all summer: if [Republic] got a dive team, we’re going to join and see how well we could do,” Dylan said. “Plus, he’s my little brother and it’s my last year in high school. So it’s really kind of emotional thinking about it, because we’re the first two, and we both worked really hard.