March 1, 2014

Four qualify at NCAA Diving Regional

Denison men's diving will be sending four individuals to the NCAA Division III Championship following the completion of the NCAA Diving Regional at the Trumbull Aquatics Center in Granville, Ohio.

Nine male divers from the region qualified for the national championship and four of those spots went to divers from Denison.  The Big Red's qualifiers are: Max Levy, Connor Dignan, Ben Lewis, and Brian Allen.  Other qualifiers include Justin Bublitz (Wisconsin-La Crosse), Matt Staab (Chicago), Nick Johnson (St. Thomas), Elliot Littman (Kalamazoo), and Anthony Restaino (Chicago).  The qualifiers were based on combined finish from last night's 1-meter competition and today's 3-meter dive.  These nine individual qualifiers are unofficial until the NCAA announces the official list of qualifiers on Monday, March 3.

First-place in today's 3-meter board went to Dignan, who finished with a score of 614.65.  The runner-up was last night's winner in the 1-meter dive, Levy.  He posted a score of 530.95.  Allen punched his ticket to Indianapolis with a fourth-place showing on the 3-meter board.  He totaled an 11-dive score of 487.70.

Dignan started strong as his first six dives all had degrees of difficulty greater than 2.8.  His second dive, a forward 3 ½ somersault pike landed him the highest individual score of the weekend at 74.40.  He would post another 70-point dive on his inward 2 ½ somersault pike which opened a big lead for the Arizona native.  Dignan's score of 614.65 was just 31.05 points shy of his national record-setting performance at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship, two weeks ago.

Levy's 530.95 total was just 4.9 points lower than his winning score in Friday night's 1-meter dive.  On Saturday, Levy landed a 68.60 point score on his sixth dive which was a back 1 ½ somersault 2 ½ twist free.  He received two 8.5 scores from the judges on that attempt.  

Allen is heading to nationals thanks to a strong finish in the 3-meter board.  After finishing eighth in Friday's 1-meter, he needed a better performance on Saturday to lock-up his spot on the D-III championship squad.  He accomplished that feat by scoring consistently throughout his 11-dives.  His best dive, relative to his degree of difficulty, came on his second-to-last attempt.  On an inward 1 ½ somersault pike he posted a score of 49.35 thanks to three 8.0's by the judges.

Lewis would finish ninth in the 3-meter board with a score of 462.65 after cementing his spot with a third-place finish in the 1-meter dive last night.  He popped off a score of 61.60 on his fourth dive, a reverse 2 ½ somersault tuck.  Lewis is the defending national champion in the 1-meter.

Sophomore Nathan Lightman found himself just outside of the cut-line for nationals as he placed 11th in the 3-meter with a score of 444.50.  Lightman recorded his individual dive score of 56.70 on an inward 2 ½ somersault tuck.

Combined with Denison's 14 male swimmers already qualified for nationals, the addition of four divers will bring the Big Red's roster size to 18.  The NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship will take place in Indianapolis, Ind. on March 19-22.