Women's Diving preview: NCAA Zone D Diving Regional Championships
Site: Columbia, Mo.
The Meet: NCAA qualifying divers from around the Midwest will gather in Columbia, Mo. this weekend for the Zone D Diving Meet, hosted by the Missouri at the Mizzou Aquatics Center.
Qualification for the NCAA Championships is dependent on a diver's qualifying at the Zone meet. In this year's Zone D meet, there will be five spots available on the men's side and six slots for women to earn an NCAA berth.
The competition starts on Friday at 10 a.m. with the women's 1-meter dives, followed by the men on the 3-meter in the afternoon. On Saturday, the men will dive from the low-board at 10 a.m. and the women will take to the 3-meter later in the day. Sunday will feature men's and women's platform diving, beginning at 10 a.m., with the women and finishing up with the men in the afternoon.
2006 Texas Qualifiers and Top Scores:
Brian Smith (So., Carrollton, Texas)
Mary Yarrison (Jr., Springfield, Va.)
Kara-Jayne Salamone (Fr., Cooper City, Fla.)
Jessica Livingston (So., Houston, Texas)
Head Diving Coach Matt Scoggin's Take: "All of our kids have been working hard to get to this point and I think they are doing some of their best diving at the right time."
"All four of our women divers and both of the men's divers have a great chance to make it to the next meet and it is just up to them to put it together and perform."
"There is little room for error at the Zone meet with so few spots for a lot of good divers. Each of our divers is confident and going to perform their best. Both the men and women have a tight situation with a limited number of slots for the championships, but we have been diving well up to this point."
"We have a great, healthy environment on our team and they have been working hard and pushing each other to get better. It has been a great group to work with."
Last Year's Meet: Brian Smith and then senior Monica Maxwell wrapped up competition at the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium on the campus of Texas A&M University by posting fourth-place performances in the men's and women's platform events, respectively.
After qualifying for her first NCAA Championships appearance by virtue of her performance on the one-meter springboard, Maxwell earned a mark of 337.45 to take home fourth place in the women's platform.
Meanwhile, in the men's version of the platform, Smith posted Texas' second fourth-place finish of the day with a score of 450.35 and just missed qualifying for the NCAA meet. Competing in his first zone diving championships, Smith completed the meet with a seventh-place performance in the one-meter springboard and a sixth-place showing in the three-meter springboard to go along with his fourth-place finish in the platform.
Last Time Out: Texas women's divers swept the top three spots in the 1-meter diving competition at the Big 12 Championships to start the diving competitions. Freshman Kathryn Kelly took the gold medal in the event with 276.1 points while junior Mary Yarrison was second with 271.45 points and sophomore Jessica Livingston took third with 269.15 points. All three were named All-Big 12 for the first-time in their careers.
Yarrison and Kelly then traded spots in the 3-meter diving competition with Yarrison taking the gold medal for her first Big 12 title and Kelly taking silver.
Livingston was the third to win an individual title under diving coach Matt Scoggin's tutelage by taking first in the platform competition with 303.5 points for her first Big 12 title.
Sophomore Bailey Gao took second in the 1-meter competition with 335.20 and third in the 3-meter competition with 338.20. Sophomore Brian Smith finished fourth in the platform diving competition with a score of 246.20. He also took fourth in the 3-meter competition with a score of 316.20.
Women's Big 12 Divers of the Month: Texas freshman Kara Jayne-Salamone was named Diver of the Month for November while fellow rookie Kathryn Kelly was named in October. Jayne-Salamone placed first in both the 1- and 3-meter dives on Nov. 5 at SMU. A native of Cooper City, Fla., she posted 267.52 points on the one-meter and 297.67 on the three-meter dive. Kelly placed first in both the 1- and 3-meter dives against Stanford on Oct. 29. On the 1-meter springboard she posted 266.85 points and earned 295.42 points on the 3-meter. Against Missouri, Kelly placed first in the 1-meter with 299.85 points and second on the 3-meter with 285.
Men's Big 12 Diver of the Month: Texas junior Bailey Gao was named Men's Diver of the Month for November. It marked Gao's first time earning the honor. Gao was first in both the 1- and 3-meter diving competitions in a dual versus USC on Nov. 11-12. On the 1-meter springboard, he posted 316.75 points and earned 361.90 points on the 3-meter.
Head Diving Coach: Matt Scoggin, the 2006 Big 12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year, is in his 12th year at Texas as the head diving coach, where he has clearly established UT as one of the nation's top men's and women's diving programs. A former U.S. Olympic diver and 2000 USA Olympic men's assistant diving coach, Scoggins has been recognized nationally for his outstanding efforts. He was selected NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year for the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 as well as the NCAA Men's Diving Coach of the Year for 2000-01. Additionally, Scoggin is a five-time Big 12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year and has won the conference's Men's Diving Coach of the Year twice. Scoggin has coached the U.S. National Team seven times, including his most recent appointment as the head coach of the team that competed at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.