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New Canaan's Towbin, Kushner finish second and ninth at State Open

Updated 3:46 pm, Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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MIDDLETOWN -- On paper, it is a wonderful diving rivalry.

In reality, it is two good friends pushing each other to excellence.

Westhill High sophomore Rachel Burston and New Canaan High junior Kylie Towbin put on a show to be savored and remembered Friday night at the Middletown High School pool.

And when the 11 grueling rounds of the 2013 State Open Diving Championship were complete, it was Burston setting a new meet record of 441.45 points to grab the title over Towbin's 434.50 points.

"I did what I could. I was confident right through the final dive. I'm totally satisfied with my performance," Towbin said. "Rachel and I are best friends. We are awesome competitors who love diving."

Indeed. Burston led wire to wire. But Towbin saved her best for last nailing her final dive -- a 105C with a 2.4 degree of difficulty -- forcing Burston to face a 44-point deficit when her final turn arrived.

"That dive is my favorite," Towbin said. "I was confident. I couldn't ask for more."

Burston also did a 105c and nailed it to provide her seven-point margin of victory.

"Kylie is so tough to compete with. I was so pressured. It was nervewracking walking to the diving board," Burston said. "I felt so much emotion knowing it was the final dive of the high school season. I just wanted to do it."

East Lyme's Caroline Gonsalves was a distant third at 374.65 points. Newtown's Kari Djonne (366.45) was fourth followed by Sheehan's Brianna Buehler, Newtown's Noelle Benson and Trinity Catholic freshman Shannon Daine in seventh at 336.80.

"There were so many older girls competing. I'm so very happy with what I did," Daine said. "11 dives is a lot of dives. And a lot of difficult dives. I didn't think at the start of the year I'd be here at the State Open. I made it happen but there is work to do in the future."

But the night belonged to Burston.

"My grandmother Sheila passed away recently so I dedicated the meet to her," Burston said. "I was happy to win for someone I loved. Kylie is a great person and a great friend."

rich.depreta@scni.com

GIRLS DivING

State Open diving at Middletown

1. Rachel Burston (Westhill/Stamford) 441.45; 2. Kylie Towbin (New Canaan) 434.50; 3. Caroline Gonsalves (East Lyme) 374.65; 4. Kari Djonne (Newtown) 366.45; 5. Brianna Buehler (Sheehan) 345.50; 6. Noelle Benson (Newtown) 338.60; 8. Keturah Sarno (Weston) 327.90; 9. Katie Kushner (New Canaan) 326.25; 10. Hanna Suarez (East Lyme) 317.50; 11. Ines Villemure (Greenwich) 314.55; 12. Lauren Cunningham (Westhill/Stamford) 311.35; 13. Haley Boland (Kennedy) 305.90; 14. Rebekah Hall (Maloney) 304.90; 15. Gillian Eckwall (Newtown) 299.80; 16. Annemarie Durham (East Lyme) 298.15; 17. Kyla Pech (Darien) 296.90; 18. (tie) Kiersty Neeman (Lyman Hall) and Olivia Piazza (Darien) 289.55; 20. Molly Klein (Darien) 286.20; 21. (tie) Haley Foster (Glastonbury) and Clare Hampford (Trumbull) 282.95; 23. Marie Facin (North Haven) 280.35; 24. Emily Glatt (Cheshire) 270.10; 25. Reilly McKnerney (Windham/Lyman Memorial) 183.15.