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Men’s Swimming and Diving: Divers travel to last qualifier

Mary Green | Thursday, March 7, 2013

While their swimming teammates will have to play the waiting game to see whether they will advance to the NCAA championships, members of the Notre Dame diving team will have one final opportunity to earn a spot during next week’s NCAA Zone Diving Qualifier. The meet will take place March 14-16 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Irish will compete in Zone C, meaning they will dive against Big Ten powerhouses Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State, along with a strong Kentucky squad. Irish diving coach Caiming Xie said that quartet will present the strongest competition from the regional schools at the meet.

“That’s the top four,” Caiming said. “Those are the strongest four teams on the men’s side. Others like us, Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Miami (Ohio) are probably on a secondary step.”

The Irish will not send anyone to dive off the platform, one of three diving events. Because the Rolfs Aquatic Center does not have a platform, the team is unable to practice the event. The absence of participation in this event will make scoring points more difficult for the Irish.The Irish will instead focus their efforts on the two remaining events, the one-meter and three-meter springboards. Per NCAA rules, if a diver achieves a qualifying score in one of the three events, he may also enter the other two events. Divers need to score a 300 to qualify for the NCAA championships in the one-meter dive and a 320 to qualify for the three-meter dive.

Senior Ryan Koter and sophomores Michael Kreft, Nick Nemetz, Ted Wagner and John Andrade all reached a qualifying score in at least one of the three events, so they will dive off both springboards at the meet. Qualifying scores can be accomplished at any of the team’s official meets, including last weekend’s Big East championships in Indianapolis where the Irish captured the conference title.

Kreft earned the award for Men’s Big East Co-Diver of the Meet at the conference championships after finishing in the top six in all three diving events. To reach the NCAA cChampionships, though, divers must attain more than a set score. They need to finish within a certain place in each event to advance, and Zone C will only send seven divers this year to NCAAs. The number of invitations from each zone depends on how well that zone did at NCAAs the year before.

With the shortage of spots and the excess of competition, Caiming said achieving a qualifying spot in the NCAA Championships will be no easy task for Irish divers.

“I think maybe two or three people will make the final,” he said. “I think it will be hard for us…because our zone is a tough zone. But I hope they have a good meet next week.”

Notre Dame willtbegin the NCAA Zone Diving Qualifier in West Lafayette, Ind., on March 14 with the one-meter springboard prelims.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu.