March 12, 2013
HOUSTON - University of Houston senior diver Julia Lonnegren finished with a score of 558.50 to place eighth in the 1M event to lead the Cougar divers on the second day of the NCAA Zone D Diving competition.
Lonnegren improved one spot from the prelims as she entered the finals on a score of 271.80. She scored better than 46.0 on every attempt during her first set. The native of Malmö (Sweden) was in second place after sticking her best score of the day on a forward two-and-a-half somersault pike (57.2) but lost placing on her fourth and fifth tries to fall back to ninth in the morning.
"Julia dove great today but a couple of dives in her first list, she tried to do a little too much," said head diving coach Jane Figueiredo. "She recovered really well and I was happy with her second list. Like I've said all along this week, tomorrow (platform) is Julia's day. It's win or go home."
Natasha Burgess joined Lonnegren in the finals and improved her placing going from 18th to 16th and finished with a score of 521.80. Burgess saved her best for last with a forward one-and-a-half somersault with two twists to climb up a pair of places.
Freshman Danielle Shedd took 24th in the prelims with final score of 246.15.
With one event remaining and only one spot left, it is win or go home tomorrow on the platform. Only seven student-athletes will emerge from the Zone D meet with only one platform participant advancing while the remaining six spots going towards the top-three 1M and 3M finishers.
"We're limited in the number of athletes we can bring to the NCAA Championships. Look at track and field for example. If you qualify in the javelin (event), you go to the NCAA championships to compete in the javelin, just that one event. You don't go and compete in the shot put, long jump or any other field event, they are specialized events.
"We as diving coaches would like to see qualifications to the NCAA Championships based on the event, instead of the zone. There should be a set number of qualifying spots for every single board. Our field would then expand from 35 to 100-something. But it's frustrating for us coaches because some really talented student-athletes who specialize in maybe just one event are being left at home."