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ND Swimming: Divers struggle on Day 2

Greg Arbogast | Monday, March 5, 2007

In the span of a few hours, Notre Dame went from having two divers in the NCAA Championships to having zero.After the preliminaries for three-meter diving, held Saturday morning, sophomore Michael Bulfin occupied second place with 339.90 points while teammate Sam Stoner was one spot behind with 337.15 points. Bulfin and Stoner needed only to maintain their current positions in order to earn automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. The two divers, however, could not replicate their morning performances.In the three-meter finals held Saturday evening, Bulfin tallied 312.20 points giving him a total score of 614.15 points that dropped him to a fifth place finish. Stoner managed only 277 points in the finals, dropping him all the way to 11th place. The third Irish diver to compete over the weekend, junior Steven Crowe, finished in 18th place with a combined score of 549.45 points. The failure to hold a top-three spot, which would have guaranteed a spot in the national tournament, was especially disappointing for Bulfin who appeared poised to obtain the berth for the second consecutive season. In 2006, Bulfin qualified by finishing fourth in the three-meter diving with a combined total 634.40 points. Notre Dame did manage to achieve two additional top-10 finishes this past weekend, both coming in the one-meter diving. With a combined total of 600.25 points, Stoner picked up the highest finish of his career in the Zone C Diving Meet with a seventh place finish. Bulfin finished one spot behind his teammate tallying a combined total of 597.20 points. The Irish women also failed to qualify a diver for the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame sent freshmen Tiffany Robak and Natalie Stitt to compete for the nine available NCAA slots in Zone C.Robak tallied the pair’s best finish accumulating 490.95 points off the one-meter board – good enough for a 12th place finish. Stitt finished 16th in one-meter diving with 468.55 total points. Indiana’s Christina Louka won the event with 652.10 points.Off the three-meter board, neither Irish diver managed to qualify for the finals. Robak found herself in 28th place after the prelims with 216 points while Stitt finished 40th tallying 171.65 points. Neither men’s coach Tim Welsh nor women’s coach Carrie Nixon could be reached for comment following the weekend’s events.