March 9, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla –
Swimming has a pretty cut and dry method for determining who qualifies for the NCAA Championships, you swim a fast enough time and you’re in. For the divers, the process is a little bit different. The members of the Florida State University diving team will try to get their tickets punched for national summit this weekend when they compete at the NCAA Diving Zone “B” Qualifier.
Hosted by the University of Georgia on March 12-14, the Zone Qualifier brings together the top divers in the region and allows them to compete for the chance to advance to the NCAA Championships. The “B” Zone has 11 spots in both of the women’s and men’s meets with four spots for the one and three-meter boards and the remaining three going to the performer on the ten-meter platform.
“It’s a tough zone,” FSU diving coach Patrick Jeffrey said. “In order to advance you have to have one great day, not three good days, but if any one of them dives like they did at the ACC meet then they have a really good shot to win. You really don’t know how it’s going to shape up so you just have to dive your best and see how things work out.”
Making up the FSU women’s contingency will be juniors Tiffany Manning (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Courtney McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.), along with freshmen Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.), Taryn Ignacio (Richmond, Ky.) and Camille Akridge (Orlando, Fla.). On the men’s side, Jason Beinlich (Ridley, Pa.), Peter Crane (Fairport, N.Y.), Stuart de la Rosa (Erdenhiem, Pa.) and Curtis Schroeger (Shawnee Mission, Kan.) will be representing the Garnet and Gold. All nine of the competitors will take part in the one and three-meter boards, but less than half will compete on the platform. Only Manning, McClow, Ignacio on the women’s side and Crane in the men’s competition will perform during on the platform.
Few divers in the region are performing as well as Manning. Last month at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships she swept both boards on her way to earning Diver of the Meet honors. The junior set a meet and pool record with her 312.45 on the one-meter board and added another pool mark with her 538.75 in the three-meter competition.
Manning is very familiar with the process of the Zone meet. The last two seasons she has earned her way to the NCAA Championships with strong performances at the Zones. Manning strength is the platform event where she is a two-time All-American.
“Tiffany has been diving really well for about a month now,” Jeffrey added. “Her confidence is really high right now and having performed well in a big meet is definitely in her favor. With each meet now there is going to be more pressure for her to perform and it’s good for her to have that confidence.”
This is the third zone meet for McClow and Schroeger and the second for Crane, but all three are looking for their first trip to the NCAA Championships. While the three freshmen women and the two guys have national meet experience, they haven’t been in the environment before where the rest of their teammates and friends are enjoying some time off.
“I think my main concern is that the season is very long,” Jeffrey explained. “They picked it up for ACCs and now we’re extending their training and its spring break so most of their friends are on the beach and toughest part is keeping their head in the game. That’s where the experience comes in and those who can keep their head in the game are the ones that perform well.”
Similar to swimming with an NCAA automatic qualifying time, once a diver secures one of the top spots in any event, they are guaranteed a spot in the other two as long as they compete in the event at the Zone meet. The women’s NCAA Championships will be held March 18-20 at Texas A&M University, while the men’s meet is March 25-27 on Long Island, N.Y.