COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Freshman Paige Greely held her own at the NCAA Diving Zone E Championships, finishing 28th out of 49 athletes in 3-meter diving Thursday at Cadet Natatorium.
The young diving squad prepared for the Zones with the goal of making it into the finals and gaining valuable experience at this level of competition. The top 18 from the preliminary competitions moved on to the finals. Although Greely finished shy of making the finals cut, her score of 260.25 was just 20 points short of 18th place.
“Paige did well,” said head diving coach Kevin Witt. “She just missed making the finals by a few spots, so she had a good meet. I think she was trying to be careful in the end and not mess anything up and then came a little short, but overall she did really well.”
Although Cadet Natatorium is a familiar setting for the Rams, the competition was anything but routine. The boards were packed with some of the best divers in the nation, all vying for a spot at the NCAA Championships. The top three athletes in each event will move on to the Championships, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis, Ind.
Freshman Ariana Milone—CSU’s season record holder for 3-meter boards—had a challenging day, finishing 41st. Sophomore Maxelise Thorn followed her teammates in 49th place. This is the highest level of competition all three of CSU’s young divers have ever reached.
Secondary to their finishing position, the day was about gaining experience.
“I think we could have had a better day overall, but it’s going to be a learning experience for all of them,” Witt said. “Managing expectations, maintaining energy levels and staying confident with the large number of people here are going to be the hardest parts about it. Hopefully they’ll get some rest today and come back tomorrow and do better as a group.”
The Zones, which are the second highest level of competition that an athlete can reach at the collegiate level, continue on Friday with 1-meter springboards, a solid event for Greely. Greely holds CSU’s top time this season in 1-meter diving, which she set during her most recent competition at Cadet Natatorium (Feb. 2). As a freshman, Greely is also the fifth-highest performer in CSU’s history on 1-meter springboards.
“I don’t expect 1-meters to be any easier,” Witt said, “but hopefully they’ll bounce back a little bit. They have to have a quick turnaround, feed and rest their bodies, and keep their minds thinking positively. Hopefully we’ll end on a higher note tomorrow. The goal coming down here was getting into the finals, and that will be our goal for tomorrow.”
The three qualified for NCAA Zones after meeting certain point standards during dives throughout the season. It is CSU's largest group represented at Zones since 2005, and tied for second in the Mountain West. Live results for Friday’s competition can be found on Dive Meets.