Modesto High diver Matt Robles is standing perfectly still, on his tiptoes, hands raised above his shoulders.
As he contemplates an inward somersault, four other divers Modesto's Eddie Cardenas, Beyer's Shannon Lucas, Enochs' Christina Cabral and Johansen's Marcela Covarrubias linger in the pool, up to their necks in water. They don't say a word, unlike Ethan Tucker of Enochs, who's playing with a water polo cap that's been misplaced on the pool deck.
Underneath another diving board at the Johansen High pool, Gregori's Cammi Baumann and Linsey Le are singing "Bad Day" by one-hit wonder Daniel Powter. Still further away, Enochs' Joshua Michaelis is tending to a bee sting on the bottom of his foot.
Back to Robles: He finally musters the courage to dive and it does not go well. He more closely resembles a cat falling from a tree than he does Greg Louganis.
If it all sounds more like "Romper Room" than diving practice, well, it's just a normal weekday for diving coach Maureen Wolff.
"It's our little bit of lunacy," says Wolff, who works for the Stanislaus County Office of Education as a substitute teacher. "But it's fun."
Wolff, a native of Atherton, began diving at age 6. She was a state champion by age 8. Soon after that, she was competing at the national and international levels for various Bay Area clubs. But the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics, and the growing politics involved at the higher levels drove her away from competition.
But she missed it. And when she got a call in 2006 asking if she'd be interested in being Modesto High's diving coach, well ...
"I was excited," says Wolff, a mother of five. "When you put something on the back burner that was such a large part of your life, the opportunity for me to get back into it was fun."
Fun is what Wolff is all about. For the past four seasons, she's been the coach for all the Modesto City Schools, save for Davis. And it makes for an interesting mix during practices.
"At first, I didn't know what to expect," says Cardenas, a junior in his second season as a diver. "I figured there would be high tension, with everybody undermining each other. But, basically, we're one big team."
Meghan McKenzie, a sophomore at Beyer, agrees.
"This is a lot better," says McKenzie, a former gymnast who missed flipping. "We're a family. We all support one another, so it's not so intense and scary."
And if you've ever tried a flip in your backyard pool, you know that "scary" might be an understatement. Even so, divers today don't know scary like Wolff knows it.
In her day, Wolff's dry-land training included flipping and landing in a sand pit, if the dive required entering feet first. If it called for a head-first entry, she would dive off the board and her coach would catch her.
Maybe Wolff's divers aren't flipping into sand pits, but they do have a lot to deal with. They must have 11 different dives in their repertoire before they can compete.
Baumann, a sophomore in her third year in the sport, also likes the concept of training with her "rivals."
"We all help each other and we're really supportive of each other," says the 15-year-old sophomore. "When we go to big meets other teams are like, 'What the heck? That's a big diving team.'
"Even with all us (Wolff) still manages to teach us all 11 dives."
Wolff is teaching them more than that. Confidence enters the lesson plan, even if the divers don't realize it.
"At the moment, I'm loving my one-and-a-half," adds Baumann. "I just learned it. I didn't have it at the beginning of the year and now I'm getting (scored) six-and-a-halfs, sevens.
"When I did my double I was, like, 'What? I can do it! What else can I do that I haven't tried?' "
That's what it's all about for Wolff.
"The high school season is so short, I'm always 'Come on, come on, come on. We gotta get these dives. Gotta get to 11,' " Wolff says. "It's not always the best philosophy, but it's what we deal with."
Just a little bit of lunacy.