Bentley University diver Paige Wilde saved her best for last.
Wilde, a Naugatuck resident, won double gold at the Northeast-10 championships last month at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. Wilde won the 3 meter and 1 meter titles at the championship to help Bentley to a second-place finish overall. Bentley finished with 13 medals, four gold, two silver and seven bronze.
“That was just an incredible finish for Paige,” Bentley head swim coach Mary Kay Samko said. “She is moving on to the Nationals, but this was her last event as a senior at the NE-10 championship and this was her last dive and she nailed it.
“It was so exciting to see her finish her career like that with a double gold and to do it on her last dive. She has trained at Southern and I know this was huge for her. It was huge for us as she scored 40 points and we beat out Southern by seven points for second place.”
Wilde, a former three-time All-NVL diver from Holy Cross, won her first gold of her collegiate career in the 1 meter dive scoring a 404.60 on the first day of the four-day competition. Her previous high mark came in her freshman year in 2012 when she landed a third-place finish at the NE-10 championship.
On the final day of the championships, Wilde not only captured gold again with a 437.60 in the 3 meter dive, but left her name in the Bentley record book. She now owns second place in the school’s history for 3 meter dives and fourth in the 1 meter.
Wilde’s gold showing comes a year after she underperformed at the championship. She spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Australia, and although she had been the NE-10 championships her first two years, being away from competition took its toll. She finished sixth in the 3 meter and seventh in the 1 meter last year.
So, this year, she focused on training.
“I knew what I had to do and went back to Southern where I trained under coach Jesse Cyr for a club diving team. I came into this year’s NE-10 looking to do my best, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
For all of her accomplishments in her collegiate career, Paige feels her experience in Australia was second to none.
“Australia is such an amazing place and it was really hard to leave there,” she added with a laugh. “I learned so much over there but I did miss the competition.”
The atmosphere at this year’s competition was a little different than past years.
“Normally we perform in front of small crowds since diving lasts so long people tend to take a break and leave for awhile,” Wilde said. “But this year on the final day the diving portion was right in the middle of the meet and there was a large crowd. That was exciting and I usually do my best under that kind of pressure.”
Wilde will be heading to the NCAA Division II Championships on March 10 in Indianapolis, Ind. She has felt that kind of pressure before competing in the qualifying round during her freshman year in Dallas, Texas and in her sophomore year in Birmingham, Ala.
There are 32 women divers in the qualifying round. The top 11 divers in each event move on to the finals. If a diver meets qualification in both events other divers will be added to round out the field of 22 for each event.
“It would really be the finishing touches on a successful college career to make the finals,” Paige said. “I never made it to the finals and I’m really focused on making that happen in this my final year.”
Wilde has no aspirations of continuing her athletic career, such as a trying out for Olympic fame. Prior to the start of her senior year, Paige was accepted to a full-time position in the financial leadership program with United Technology.
“My athletic career is coming to an end so it’s time to put my focus on my future,” Wilde said. “I was offered a great opportunity with United Technology and I’m ready for my next journey.”