Diving to Compete in Zone C at NCAA Qualifier

March 13, 2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Nine Kentucky divers will look to punch their tickets to the 2013 NCAA Diving Championships at this week’s Zone C Diving Championships at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center on the campus of Purdue University beginning Thursday afternoon.

Colby Coleman, Corey Cowger, Greg Ferrucci, John Fox and Zack Peterson will represent the UK men, while Christa Cabot, Sarah Chewning, Rebecca Hamperian and Lindsay Keahey represent the UK women.

Last season, junior Greg Ferrucci made his second-career appearance at the NCAA Championships, finishing 10th on the 3-meter springboard, 11th on the 1-meter, and 15th on platform. In 2013, Ferrucci looks to make his third-straight appearance at the event, but head dive coach Ted Hautau hopes Ferrucci has teammates joining him in Indianapolis, Ind., the site of this season’s NCAA Championships.

“There are more spots to qualify, but it’s a little bit deeper talent this year. I’m excited,” said Hautau. “I think they have a good shot if they dive well, but this meet’s all about consistency. It is a meet where you just want to be consistent six times in a row and then another six times. You just need to find your head and go vertical six times in a row.”

In their most recent competition at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships, UK divers had strong showings scoring several points at the event.

Ferrucci earned second place finishes on each of the 3-meter and 1-meter boards while also taking eighth on platform. Fox, Peterson, and Cowger each scored on the 1-meter. The Kentucky men dominated the 3-meter event, with Ferrucci, Cowger and Fox finishing in the top eight.

For the women, Hamperian and Chewning each took top-20 finishes on the 3-meter boards. Cabot advanced to the finals of the 1-meter with the sixth seed and earned a fourth place finish in the finals.

There are 35 total spots divided between five zones for each the men and women to make it to the NCAA Championships, and each zone is allotted at least four spots. Zone C, where Kentucky will be competing beginning Thursday, has been allotted 18 total spots – nine men and nine women – to make the field.

Spots are weighted heavily toward performance on the 3-meter springboard, with the top-four performers in the 3-meter event, top-three on 1-meter and top-two on platform advancing. Athletes may not double on spots, meaning if an athlete qualifies highly in multiple events, the athlete will only count for one slot. Selections will be adjusted accordingly. However, qualifiers who only qualify for one spot but compete in all three events will be allowed to compete in each event at the NCAA Championships.

Preliminaries will begin Thursday with men’s 1-meter and women’s 3-meter competitions pegged for 1 p.m. and events will switch on Friday. Men and women will both compete on platform on Saturday. There will be a 10-minute break between preliminaries and the finals each day.

Saturday’s platform competition will start with women’s action at 11 a.m. The men’s competition will begin 30 minutes after completion of the women’s event.

Unlike swimming, the Zone Diving Championships are the only means of qualification for NCAA divers to reach the championships. No other previous scores or results from the regular season count. It is, for all intents and purposes, the most important meet of the season.

“It’s very competitive. This is the hardest meet of the year as far as pressure, because you have to two lifts well and there are a lot of competitors,” Hautau said. “The first six dives you do, there are (roughly) 60 competitors. That’s 30 minutes in between dives. You’re waiting around. When it cuts to 18, it goes a lot faster, so it’s a little easier to keep a rhythm.”

The field is cut down to 18 after both springboard preliminaries and down to 12 for the platform for the finals, from which the divers qualify for NCAA Championship berths.

The 2013 Women’s NCAA Championships are set to begin March 21-23, with the men’s NCAA Championships slated for March 28-30 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Automatic NCAA Qualifiers (9 Spots per Gender in Zone C)
1-Meter -- 1st through 3rd
3-Meter -- 1st through 4th
Platform -- 1st & 2nd
More competitors qualify if the same divers place among the top finishers in multiple events

Teams with at least one Diver Entered
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
Illinois State
Miami (Ohio)
Michigan State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Southern Illinois
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wright State
Youngstown State