Pakhalina Defends 1-Meter Crown at C-USA Diving Championships

    Senior diver Yulia Pakhalina defended her 1-meter springboard title Sunday at the C-USA Championships with an 80-point victory.
    Senior diver Yulia Pakhalina defended her 1-meter springboard title Sunday at the C-USA Championships with an 80-point victory.
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    Feb. 23, 2003

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - University of Houston diver Yulia Pakhalina successfully defended her 1-meter springboard diving championship Sunday during the first day of the Conference USA Championships at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind.

    The Penza, Russia, native was the only diver to score more than 300.00 points in either the preliminaries or the finals and cruised to victory by more than 80 points in the finals with a score of 362.55 points. It was her 59th career victory in 61 collegiate diving events.

    However, Pakhalina wasn't the only Cougar diver who performed well. Redshirt freshman Azul Almazan placed third in the event with 257.95 points and senior Veronica Smith was a close fourth with 248.90 points. Altogether, UH boasted of three of the top four divers in the event Sunday.

    Pakhalina was the leading scorer for the Cougars, who stood in fourth place after first-day competition with 129 points. East Carolina stood atop the team leaderboard with 221 points, while Cincinnati was a close second with 216 points. TCU was in third after the first day with 142 points, followed by the Cougars, Louisville (111) and Saint Louis (93).

    On Monday, Pakhalina will look to defend her title on the 3-meter board, an event in which she has never lost in 29 straight meets. Other events on Monday's schedule include the preliminaries and finals of the 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke and 800-yard freestyle relay.

    In other action Sunday, senior Falon Hopkins placed third in the 50-yard freestyle with a UH season-best time of 23.79 in the finals. The Houston native shaved more than a half second off the previous season best she set in that event at the Texas Invitational on Dec. 5.



    Hopkins qualified for the finals after recording a time of 24.00 - the second-fastest time by a Cougar swimmer in that event this season - during the preliminaries earlier in the day.

    Junior Lucile Turpin placed fourth in the 500-yard freestyle "A" finals with a UH season-best time of 5:00.60, six seconds faster than her previous best. The French Reunion Islands native qualified for the top finals with a time of 5:04.13 in the preliminaries.

    In the relay events, the Cougars' 400-yard medley relay team earned a third-place finish with a UH season-best time of 3:57.04. That team consisted of Hopkins, Kristina DeWitt, Stacey Williams and Shawn Toliver.

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