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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Swimming and diving head to Minnesota for NCAA Zone D Diving Championships

Texas+A%26M+Swim
Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel
Texas A&M Swim

The Texas A&M women’s and men’s diving teams will compete in the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships March 5-7 as they attempt to qualify for the upcoming NCAA Championships. The meet will take place at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota and include teams such as Minnesota, LSU, Texas, SMU, and Missouri.
“This meet is probably the most pressure-packed meet of the year because divers only have one chance to get into the NCAAs and it’s this week,” head diving coach Jay Lerew said. “NCAAs will be easier than our meet that we’re going to now.”
Though he says this is the most challenging meet for his team, Lerew also said that preparation for this meet is no different than for any other.
“We taper down a little bit,” Lerew said. “We do a little less work, just want them to feel fresh. As they say, the hay’s in the barn. You can’t do much more.”
Both teams are coming off the Southeastern Conference Championships, in which the women earned their third consecutive win and the men placed second.
In the SEC Championship meet, four Aggie divers contributed points to their team’s overall total. For the women, junior Alais Kalonji placed first in the platform dive with 308.70 points and freshman Charlye Campbell placed eighth in the one-meter with 271.30.
“It was like a dream come true when I won,” Kalonji said. “I had two new dives for this competition so I was a little nervous for prelims and finals, but it was just amazing winning really.”
For the men, senior Tyler Henschel placed first in the three-meter with 469.05 points, fourth in the platform with 450.90 points, and fifth in the one-meter with 387.50. Junior Sam Thornton placed third in the one-meter with 406.35 points and sixth in the three-meter with 385.65.
“I was really happy overall with how the three-meter went,” Henschel said. “The 10-meter platform, I was actually sitting in a really good position in first place and then I had an accident.”
Tht accident occurred when Henschel’s foot made contact with the platform board, forcing him out of his tuck and somersault and causing him to hit the pool on his back. The incident moved him from his first place prelims spot to fourth place.
“That’s where the bittersweet moment is, that it was really nice winning three-meter, but on the tower, ended up having a huge mistake which caused me to come in fourth place,” Henschel said.
The women’s swim team currently has 16 swimmers qualified for the NCAA Championship meet. Lerew hopes to add a few divers to that list as well.
“Add a couple divers and it’ll give us a full allotment,” Lerew said. “That’ll be great, and we’ve got one of the most talented men’s teams we’ve had in a bunch of years at this school. They perform, they should get there.”
Kalonji has a few goals in mind for the NCAA Championship meet.
“I’d like to break 300 again in terms of points like I did at SECs with a list that has more difficulty,” Kalonji said. “And I just want to nail all my dives and want the swimming and diving team to be on that podium for sure.”
Henschel also holds some large expectations for himself in the NCAA meet.
“[I want to] Have a top-eight performance in all three boards,” Henschel said. “I haven’t been able to do that before. I think I have the capability of winning the NCAAs this year on tower. It’s going to be a big showdown and I’m really hoping that this year [in the] ten-meter platform T can win Texas A&M’s first ever NCAA men’s gold medal.”
The Zone D Diving meet will kick off next Monday. The NCAA Championships take place March 21-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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