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Divers looking to qualify for NCAAs

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 09, 2015 5:00 AM

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Swimmers have ample opportunity to make the NCAA championship.

They need only to hit the qualifying time in their event once, at any meet, in any pool, and at any point during the season.

For divers, however, the story is different. They must qualify for the Zone Championships. Once they achieve the zone-standard score, divers have three days to show their stuff.

“If you’re in the meet, you have a chance to make NCAAs,” Iowa diving coach Todd Waikel said. “It’s difficult to get to that meet.” 

To qualify for the NCAA meet, women must finish in the top five in their event, men in the top four. Qualifying in any one event means an athlete can dive in any event they made zones in.

Competition begins with the women’s 1-meter and men’s 3-meter springboard events today. The boards are exchanged on Tuesday, and platform competition will be on Wednesday.

This is the first season of the new qualifying standard. With that in mind, the Iowa divers are confident they will be successful in the meet.

“This will be the first time that that has ever been used for anyone,” Waikel said. “I think that’s going to bode well for our team, because we have some tower specialists.”

However, Iowa’s competition is stiff. The likes of Texas and Minnesota, as well as six other men’s teams and eight other women’s teams will send divers to the championships, and many of those divers were finalists and conference champions at their conference meets.

The competition does not faze the Hawkeyes, however. They are confident they can send someone to the championships.

“We’ve been training hard for this meet,” Waikel said. “The expectations are always high.”

The time is long gone for any major changes to a diver. The focus now becomes fine-tuning, working out kinks, and ripping the entry,

“At this point, it’s kind of like, we’ve done the work, and it’s time to show them what we’ve done all year,” redshirt senior Joelle Christy said. “We’re not making any major changes to our dives.

Iowa has the added advantage of hosting the meet, which adds an air of familiarity as well as brings out the home crowd.

“It adds a level of comfort,” sophomore Brandis Heffner said.

Christy said the meet will likely see the highest fan turnout for the Hawkeyes tahis season.

With the home-pool advantage, the Hawkeyes are ready to take on the rest of the zone, with the hopes of sending their divers to the NCAA meet.

“I think we have a lot of people very capable of making it,” Hefner said. “It’s time to show what we can do.”

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa swimming and diving team.


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