Ex-Hawk divers head to Olympic trials finals

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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Two former Hawkeyes, Veronica Rydze and Deidre Freeman, traveled to Weyerhaeuser Fins County Aquatic Center in Federal, Wash., to compete for a spot on the USA Olympic diving team, but they came up short of qualifying for the finals.

Rydze and Freeman competed in the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard preliminaries on Sunday. The Hawkeye duo scored 258.54, a personal best for the team, but the score put them in third place behind the pairs of Abby Johnston (Duke) and Kelci Bryant (Minnesota), with a score of 314.10, and Kassidy Cook (Woodlands High School, Texas) and Christina Loukas (Indiana), with a score of 313.83.

Freeman graduated from Iowa in 2011 and Rydze in 2012. Freeman redshirted in 2009 after her junior season, then returned to competition to set two records at the Big Ten championships in 2011 — 1-meter with a score of 338.55 and 3-meter with 407.88.

Freeman paired up with Rydze during her redshirt season, and the two placed fourth in the 3-meter synchronized event at the 2010 national diving championships in August. The two Hawkeyes finished with a score of 237.72.

Rydze led the Hawkeyes after Freeman's departure. The Iowa City native scored 325.28 and 346.10 in the 1 and 3 meter, respectively.

On their journey to the Olympic trials, Rydze and Freeman finished in fifth place at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in December 2011 and finished fifth again at the Canada Cup in Montréal in May, scoring 275.04, a personal best for the pair.

Freeman is not yet done with her stay in Washington; she will compete in the women's 3-meter springboard event at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

NBC will air five hours of the finals live on June 23-24 and also show nine additional hours of tape-delayed and live coverage.

— by Taylor Axelson

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