March 10, 2005
ATLANTA, Ga. –
With four women’s swimmers already slated for the NCAA Championships and the announcement of the men’s list on Friday, Florida State University will try to increase its representation this weekend when the divers travel to Atlanta for the NCAA Zone “B” Diving Championships. The meet is scheduled for March 11-13 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.
Whereas the swimmers have a clear cut time they must make in order to qualify for the national summit, the subjective nature of diving scores does not allow for uniform standards. As a result, divers from all over the country converge on five locations in order to qualify for the NCAA Championships. This year the “B” Zone has 11 spots for both men and women with four in the one and three-meter boards and the remaining three going to the platform.
All three of the Seminoles’ women’s divers – senior Courtney McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomores Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.) and Camille Akridge (Moultrie, Ga.) will be traveling to the meet. The lone representative for the men’s team will be freshman Alex Tilbrook (Largo, Fla.).
“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.”
This is the fourth Zone meet for team captain McClow, but she is still looking for her first trip to the NCAA Championships. Last year was the closest she got to the meet after a ninth-place finish on the one-meter board. This year may be McClow’s best opportunity as she is peaking during the right time of the year.
She beat defending NCAA Champion Allison Brennan of South Carolina on the one-meter board at the All-Star Diving Challenge on February 5. At the ACC Championships, competing at the same facility that is hosting the Zone meet, she won the platform competition while earning All-ACC honors for a second place finish on the one-meter board and a third-place nod during the three-meter competition.
After breaking her sister Chelsie Lerew’s school record on the three-meter board during a championships performance at the league summit, the younger Lerew is trying to join her sister as an All-American during her second trip to the Zone meet. Her classmate Akridge is also taking her second shot at a spot at the NCAA Championships.
For the rookie Tilbrook, this will be his initial shot at advancing to the NCAA Championships. In only his first conference championships, he picked up All-ACC honors for his performance on the three-meter board. A career-best 580.20 earned him second during the event and made him just the third men’s freshman during Jeffrey’s six-year tenure to earn all-conference honors.
Similar to swimming with its NCAA automatic qualifying time, once a diver secures one of the top spots in any event, they are guaranteed a spot at the national meet 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 Purdue University, while the men’s meet is March 25-27 at the University of Minnesota.