March 12, 2005
ATLANTA, GA. –
Four years ago Courtney McClow walked onto the Florida State University swimming and diving team after not getting a scholarship offer from any other university. The next time she walks for the Seminoles it will be in to the natatorium at Purdue University as earned her first trip the NCAA Championships after her performance on the one-meter board on Saturday (March 12) at the NCAA Zone “B” Championships.
“I’m really happy for her,” FSU diving coach Patrick Jeffrey said. “It’s strange in a way. Going into this meet all I wanted was for Courtney to qualify for nationals because it was her last chance. She’s been such a model student-athlete her whole tenure at FSU. For her to go from a walk-on to qualifying for nationals is huge.
“The funny part is that the moment she qualified that feeling kind of went away because I’m looking forward to nationals because I think she can win it all. This is the hardest zone in the country and when Courtney puts it together she can dive with the best of them and I don’t think we’ve seen her best performance yet.”
Of the three diving events, McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.) knew her best chance of qualifying would be on the one-meter board. As a freshman she won the event at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and she was leading last year’s Zone meet half way through the competition.
The prediction proved to be true as through the preliminary round she held the top spot at 298.10 points. While she dropped one spot in the finals to second, she still secured her ticket to the national meet with an 11-dive tally of 586.50. Jeffrey said McClow held off doing a more difficult dive during the final round in favor of one that is more consistent and more likely to score higher points at the Zone meet, but it will be in the rotation for the NCAA Championships.
“Three weeks ago she beat the NCAA Champion and in the last two meets at the Zones and the ACC’s I really feel like she’s been close to her main competition, which is Jena (Dreyer) from Miami,” Jeffrey noted. “Jena is going to be one of the favorites to win it all and in a way taking second isn’t that bad because we want Courtney to stay hungry and always look ahead to that next challenge.”
All three of the Florida State entries in the women’s one-meter competition made it to the finals. Sophomore Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.) followed her seventh-place finish on the three-meter board with a 13th-place 521.80 during the one-meter. Classmate Camille Akridge (Moultrie, Ga.) made her first finals at the Zone meet, taking 18th at 493.05 points.
The lone men’s participant at the meet, freshman Alex Tilbrook (Largo, Fla.) took part in the men’s three-meter competition. The All-ACC selection took 20th overall with his tally of 290.25.
The meet concludes Sunday (March 13) at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center with McClow taking part in the platform competition.