Updated Wed, Mar 12, 2014 5:34 pm
Before the Ohio diving team has a chance to make it to the NCAA Championships, they must first compete in the NCAA Zones Championships beginning on Thursday.
“[With] diving – because it’s judged and you can’t compare every meet and every score – you have to qualify to get to Zones with a certain score,” head coach Russ Dekker said.
Each athlete qualifies by reaching 280 points on the three-meter board and 265 points on the one-meter board. All three of Ohio’s current competitors, Kristin Capcik, Morgan Srail and MaryRose Hillstrom, passed the required scores several times during the regular season.
Although she was able to qualify while she was still healthy, Haleigh Bartlett will be unable to compete in Zones after a diving accident earlier in the season.
The Bobcats will compete alongside past Olympians and national champions, so keeping their focus during each event will be a real test.
“We like to try and peak for the championship meet, [and] peak for Zones, but it’s more of a mental preparation than a physical one,” Dekker said referring to the big-named competition.
“You try not to let that affect you because you can’t change it, you can’t do anything about it,” Dekker said. “Focus on your dives and what you can control, enjoy the moment [and] have fun.”
The top-nine competitors out of the three events will move on to the NCAA tournament. With so few athletes able to move on in a pool of around 30 schools, this meet could possibly be the last one of the 2013-2014 season.
“I’d like for them all to leave saying that it was fun, I think for that to happen they have to be happy with their diving,” Dekker said.
The ‘Cats had several top finishes at the MAC tournament, including Srail earning first in the three-meter.
The competition will begin with the three-meter, followed by the one-meter on Friday. Saturday will hold platform competition, which Ohio will not compete in.