Portage diver John Fannin is no stranger to postseason heartache.
Two years ago, he missed the regional by 16.2 points. Last winter, he missed the last round of the state finals by a mere 3.05 points.
Instead of pouting about the past, the Indians senior has honed his focus even more in his final prep campaign.
"It gives me motivation," Fannin said. "I think it just gives me more fire to keep going and get better."
Fannin made strides as a junior, finishing fourth at the Duneland Athletic Conference meet (395.2), third at sectional (411.5) and sixth at regional (394.65). His reverse 2 1/2 somersault tuck (3.0 degree of difficulty) helped him compete with divers like two-time state champion Joshua Arndt of LaPorte. Unfortunately for Fannin, he faltered on that dive in the semifinal round of state and finished with 259 points.
"That was the dive that was pulling me through, and then I missed it," Fannin said. "I was kind of hesitant to do that dive with everything that happened."
That attitude changed this offeason, and now Fannin is at a point where that is one of his most reliable dives.
"I just had to make sure that everything was there and eliminate the possibility of something going wrong," he said. "I just had to tell myself I could do it, and I also worked on my muscle memory."
Fannin also spent time in front of a television, watching his dives and breaking down the movements.
"It shows you what you're doing wrong," said Fannin, who hasn't lost this season. "I've learned where I need to be patient."
Fannin also learned a new dive for his rotation, a back 2 1/2 somersault tuck (3.0).
"I knew he could do it," Portage diving coach Joe Hulse said. "It's inevitable. He'll have to learn it for college."
Fannin would love to dive at the next level, but his focus is on Saturday's DAC meet. Arndt and a few other of the league's top divers have graduated, giving Fannin a chance to win the title.
With the confidence of a new dive and more consistency with the rest of his lineup, Fannin is looking forward to the final stage of his prep career.
"(The DAC meet) is basically setting up for what sectional and regional might be," Fannin said. "It's just a meet I have to have fun with.
"I know now if I miss a dive, I can just brush it off and do the next one. I've put in the training to be good in the postseason. ... I just need to finish out the season with no regrets. I've done everything I could."