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Synchro helps divers improve individually

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | NOVEMBER 10, 2010 7:20 AM

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Either Deidre Freeman or Veronica Rydze has won every individual diving event Iowa has competed in since the season began on Oct. 15.

The senior duo attributes this success, in part, to the training and competition they did in synchronized diving together over the summer.

"I often find myself thinking too much during [individual] dives, about too many technical aspects," Freeman said. "In synchro, I focus on the synchronicity and let my body's muscle memory take over. "Then, after doing synchro for a while, I'm much more comfortable with those particular dives."

Last summer, Freeman and Rydze lived in Portland, Ore., where they trained at Tualatin Hills Dive Club.

In August, the pair finished fourth at the AT&T National Championships. The finish increased their chances of being invited to the World Championships in July 2011, and a strong finish there could lead to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Though the divers do not compete in synchronized events during the current dual-meet section of the season, they will compete in synchro at Winter Nationals in January and at the Big Ten championships in February.

That will mark the first time synchronized diving is an event in the Big Ten contest, though it will be an exhibition.

Both divers have been more successful at synchro than individual, and Iowa diving coach Bob Rydze said this is typical of many divers.

"I think all divers who dive with a synchro partner, when they are in competition have a tendency to execute their dives better because they are not only diving for themselves, they are diving for their partner," he said.

The tandem has not only seen a more noteworthy career diving together, they also agree the dependency on each other in synchro is more exhilarating.

"There is an extra element of excitement," Veronica Rydze said.

Three sets of judges score each synchronized dive. The first group judges one diver's execution, the second group looks at the other diver's execution, and the third group scores the synchronization.

"I like the challenge of trying to perfect two divers together," Freeman said. "I also love sharing in the excitement and accomplishment at meets because of the extra challenge."


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