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Sunday, July 27, 2014 | Last updated: 11:18pm

Arizona hosts Tucson Diving Invite



Arizona’s divers are back in action this weekend as they host the annual Arizona Diving Invite at Hillenbrand Aquatics Center.

Events kick off Friday at noon, continue Saturday and conclude with the final platform events on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

The Wildcats will compete against top divers from Boise State, Buffalo, Stanford, Cal, New Mexico, Northern Colorado, BYU, Northern Arizona, SDSU and Las Vegas.

“I think we are on the right path,” sophomore diver Carter Craft said. “We started slow, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. I hope we can be consistent this weekend and perform well on our dives.”

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John Routh / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Swim vs Hawaii

The Wildcats look to Craft and freshman Rafael Quintero to lead the men this weekend.

Last year, Craft placed first in the 1m at the Wildcat Diving Invite and he now looks to build on that success.

“There are a lot of top divers from many different programs here this weekend,” head coach Eric Hansen said. “I think it will be a quality competition. Hopefully our divers can get some good experience competing at a high level.”

Rafael Quintero has enjoyed recent success and placed first in the 3m dive against USC last weekend. He looks to help the Wildcats bounce back after last weekend’s sweep with additional first place finishes. Quintero was a US Junior National Champion in 2011 and competed in the 2012 Central American games.

“Rafa has a lot of potential,” Hansen said. “I think we are looking for consistency with all of our divers; they excel in the techniques and the general aspects of the sport, but need to focus on consistency. We are hoping that they will contribute towards point totals during meets.”

Arizona’s women (No. 13) face Boise State for the first time in head-to-head competition, having only shared the pool at the last two NCAA Championships.

“It’s our last tune-up before nationals,” Hansen said, “and we are going to expose different women to different situations in different events.”

The Lady Wildcats will be led by junior Margo Geer and freshman Bonnie Brandon in an attempt to rebound after last week’s loss against UCLA. Geer currently is in possession of the fastest time in the 100y-freestyle, having compiled a 48.55, and ranks sixth in the nation in the 200y-freestyle with a 1:46.58.

“Brandon and Geer have been great for us so far this year,” Hansen said. “I really expect nothing different from them. I think they are really ready to go and always race hard.”

Brandon has also posted top national times this season, ranking fifth fastest in the 200y-backstroke with a 1:56.35 and 9th in the 500y-freestyle with a 4:47.73.

“I’m expecting some good racing amongst our team,” Brandon said. “I think we are going to do a really good job. We are starting to taper, so people will be starting to swim a lot faster in their races.”


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