COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Freshman Ariana Milone gained valuable experience on a national stage in 1-meter diving during the second day of the NCAA Diving Zone E Championships, Friday at the Air Force Academy's Cadet Natatorium.In the first rounds of dives, the freshman was in qualifying position for finals, but fell to 34th in her final 1-meter dives. The freshman dove six times for a cumulative score of 229.50. Although Milone did not make the finals, her performance shows marked improvement from Thursday's 3-meter dives in which she placed 41st.
Sophomore Maxelise Thorn also improved from her placement on 3-meter boards and finished 43rd in 1-meter diving. Freshman Paige Greely followed Thorn in 48th place.
"They all had a pretty good day," head diving coach Kevin Witt said. "They dove better today. I know the results don't indicate that, but overall it was a better day than yesterday."
NCAA Diving Zones are the second highest level of competition that an athlete can reach at the collegiate level. This is the first opportunity Milone, Thorn and Greely have had to compete at this prestigious level. For all three of these Rams, this season will add to the experience it takes to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the future.
"The experience at this meet will help them moving forward," Witt added. "They've dove at big events before, but this is just a little different with such a long season and how many people are here. This experience will help them have a better understanding of the event for when they come back next year."
Greely returned to the pool Friday night to get in some last minute practice before platforms Saturday. Greely will be the only diver representing the Rams in towers. The top 12 athletes in the prelims will move on to the finals. Prelims will be contested at 11 a.m. and finals at 2:30 p.m.
"It's going to be basically the same as the springboards, very challenging and very difficult," Witt said. "It will be another chance to dive in an event we don't get to compete in that much. It will be a challenge, for sure, but I want her to gain as much experience as possible at a competition like this."
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 Saturday's competition can be found on Dive Meets.
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