BY Kiley Burns
5 UNC divers compete in US Diving Winter National Championships
“A little flat.”
That’s how North Carolina diving coach Abel Sanchez described his divers’ performance in the United States Diving Winter National Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium.
“We were a little off going in,” he said. “The beginning of the season was a little rough. We didn’t have a pool for practice for a while. I hate to make excuses, though. We just need to go back to basics.”
UNC sophomore Elissa Dawson and first-year Maria Lohman kicked off the competition on Wednesday with the women’s three-meter synchronized diving event. The duo took 10th place in the event with a score of 461.04 points.
Lohman, the No. 1 recruit coming into this season, went on to place 23rd in the women’s three-meter dive with a score of 237.90 points.
“Maria impressed me," Sanchez said. "As a freshman, she’s new to the national stage, and I thought that she performed well.”
Expectations were high for Dawson and junior Jack Nyquist coming into Nationals. Both earned honorable mention All-America honors during the 2014-2015 season.
Dawson also competed in the women’s three-meter, finishing 22nd with a score of 241.75 points.
On Thursday, Nyquist placed 20th in the preliminaries of the men’s three-meter event, earning the last spot in the semifinals. But with a score of 333.60, he fell short of qualifying for the finals and finished 18th overall in the event.
“Elissa and Jack were a little off and didn’t have the performances we were hoping for,” Sanchez said. “We will just have to take this and go back to the drawing board.”
“We are looking to have more consistency. I think everyone’s there and looks pretty good. We were just a little off. It’s going to be a long season, so overall, I’m happy with where we finished.” — Sanchez on his thoughts on the rest of the season after Winter Nationals.
Two former Tar Heel divers also competed in Winter Nationals. Sean Burston finished 33rd in the men’s three-meter dive with a score of 281.10 points. Michole Timm took 41st place with a score of 190.60 points in the women’s three-meter dive.
Three numbers that matter
1: This past summer, Nyquist became the first-ever UNC diver to represent the United States in an international event when he was named to the U.S. team that competed at the World University Games in South Korea.
5: Number of NCAA All-Americans Sanchez has coached in his career, including Nyquist, Dawson and Timm.
436.58: Nyquist’s best score in three-meter diving, over 100 points higher than his performance at Winter Nationals. That score ranks second all-time at UNC in the event.
The Tar Heels host Navy at 11 a.m. on Jan. 9 at Koury Natatorium.
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