Big splashes and even bigger smiles were in abundance at the Nikiski Pool’s first-ever Cannonball Contest Thursday. The event was free, and contestants were divided into three age categories that each went through three rounds of jumps. Volunteer judges Jenny Long and Treasa Cooper scored the jumps on style and splash size.
Some participants were shooting for style points and showed off their skills with back-flips, front-flips, and mid-air twists. Others stuck to the traditional cannonball and just focused on making the biggest splash.
Regardless of technique, the audience and the judges were clearly impressed by the talent.
There was fierce competition in the under-10 age group. After the three rounds of jumps, three contestants emerged with the same top score. A tie-breaker round determined which cannonball-er was launched to the winner’s circle.
The 10-to-15 age group also required a tie-breaker round, with two siblings going head-to-head for a chance at victory — and more importantly — bragging rights.
The 16-plus age group, however, had a clear winner who showed that she was leagues ahead of her competition.
The winner from each category was awarded a trophy and a new pair of swim goggles.
Pool supervisor Nigel LaRiccia organized the contest and was the master of ceremonies during the event. He also gave the audience a special treat after the contest with an impressive cannonball of his own.
The Nikiski Pool is open every Tuesday through Sunday and is located next to the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Poolside Avenue.
• By BRIAN MAZUREK, Peninsula Clarion