Tuesday saw Stepinski work his way into the NCAA Championships by way of the men’s one-meter event. Both Stepinski and Hart qualified for the day’s finals, but Stepinski’s 625.3 points — good for 10th place ー earned him a trip to Indianapolis. Additionally, Owsiany finished the prelims in 30th.
The women’s three-meter event also happened on Tuesday, with Grund qualifying for yet another championships event. She was also the only one of her teammates to reach the day’s final, with Burrell and Hockenberry finishing 26th and 28th in the prelims, respectively.
The men’s and women’s platform competitions took place on Wednesday, the last day of the tournament. No UNC divers qualified for the NCAA Championships in this event, although Grund did secure a 15th-place finish in the finals.
Who stood out?
Grund was UNC’s standout diver of the tournament. She was able to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in two of her three events, as well as reaching the day’s finals in all three. This will give Grund her second NCAA Division I Championships appearance.
Stepinski also had a great showing, securing a NCAA Tournament berth in the men’s one-meter event. It will be his first appearance in the tournament.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels’ great performance was evident by the end of Tuesday. Stepinski’s 10th-place finish gave the team its second NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships competitor, along with Grund’s second qualification for the coming competition. Grund’s finals appearance on Wednesday cemented a great performance for an already impressive team showing.
Why does it matter?
Like the swimming team, the diving team experienced a lot of changes this season. Head diving coach Yaidel Gamboa joined the Tar Heels in the offseason as part of the team brought in by head coach Mark Gangloff. Naturally, there were questions as to how the team would perform on the grander stages of competition, and this tournament helped answer those questions.
While Grund had previously competed with the Tar Heels in the Zone Championships, three divers ー Burrell, Stepinski and Hart ー were newcomers to the team. With Stepinski qualifying for NCAAs and both Burrell and Hart reaching a final, it is clear that Gamboa has helped to attract new talent to the Tar Heels. After this year's coaching changes and collective growth throughout the season, the future looks bright for North Carolina.
When do they play next?
Grund and Stepinski were scheduled to compete in the NCAA Championships before the NCAA's cancellation of spring tournaments in response to the growing spread of COVID-19.
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