NCAA Qualifying: Divers searching for answers

BY TORK MASON | MARCH 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa diving team was left searching for answers following Thursday's action at the NCAA Zone D Qualifying Meet.

The women put together a performance that diving coach Bob Rydze called "solid overall" on the 1-meter springboard. Senior All-American Veronica Rydze — the coach's daughter — qualified for the finals and posted an eighth-place finish.

But the Iowa City native missed on her third dive of the finals, halting the momentum she had built through the first two rounds — she had climbed as high as fifth place before the miss. She faltered again on her fifth dive before hitting on her final leap of the day.

"She missed that dive in the prelims, too — she was just short on it," Bob Rydze said. "We'd gotten back into the hunt, but you can't miss the same dive twice. And after she missed that dive, her adrenaline was gone."

Osvel Molina had similar trouble in the finals of the men's 3-meter finals. He posted a preliminary score of 317.70 points but appeared to have trouble finishing his dives in the finals on his way to a 15th-place tally of 608.50.

"I'm glad I made it to the finals, but I could have done a little bit better," Molina said. "Everything was a little short, and in this meet, you lose a lot of points [if you're short on a dive]."

Molina admitted after the meet that he was fatigued, but he won't get much time to rest; he's competing in this morning's 1-meter event.

Bob Rydze said both Molina and his daughter have been executing their dives in practices and he's not sure what the issue was in the meet.

"If I knew the answer to that, we'd always dive well," he said.

Rydze said he'll have his athletes go through a less strenuous warmup routine today in hopes of keeping them as fresh as possible for competition.

Molina said he's ready for the challenge going forward because the 1-meter and platform events are his strongest. He won't necessarily have to place in the top four spots to earn a bid to the NCAA championships. The top four finishers earn an automatic bid; but if any diver in the top four has already qualified in another event, the next diver who has not already qualified gets the bid.

The Hawkeyes had four other divers compete on Thursday. Redshirt freshman Joelle Christy placed 22nd overall with a score of 246.10; sophomore Lauren Kelba and redshirt freshman Abby Grilli finished 27th and 28th with scores of 236.40 and 234.50, respectively. Sophomore Arsen Sarkisian placed 29th with a tally of 236.00 in the 3-meter.

Christy had expressed anxiety before the meet, but she said the competition wasn't as intimidating as she initially thought.

"It wasn't as big as I was expecting," she said. "[After] going through Big Tens, [this] was comparable but not overwhelming."

Rydze said he was pleased with how his divers competed but admitted they still have work to do.

"The younger kids … they dove like they were youngsters," he said. "But obviously, today, I didn't have them ready to dive at their best, so I have to take responsibility for that. But tomorrow's a new day."

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