Wildcats impress at Arizona Diving Invite
The nation’s top divers from 13 different schools met for three days of competition this weekend at Hillenbrand Aquatics Center during the annual Arizona Diving Invite.
Arizona freshman diver Rafael Quintero won the platform championship by more than 40 points on Sunday, scoring a 388.20.
Sophomore Carter Craft placed sixth overall on the platform with a respectable 280.30.
“I did a lot better on the 3m and then [today] on the tower,” Quintero said. “I kept improving each day and that was pretty great. Omar [Ojeda, head diving coach] was pleased with our performance.”
Quintero and sophomore Josh Bidak led the Wildcats on Saturday, both reaching the finals. Quintero continued his success and placed third overall with a score of 382.45 while Bidak placed eighth with a 343.80. Craft placed second in the consolation final on Saturday, scoring 349.50.
“I am really happy with how they did this weekend,” Ojeda said.
“We are in the middle of the season and everyone keeps showing improvement. I think we had a good performance this weekend.”
In the first day of competition, on Friday, the Wildcats saw three of their divers reach final rounds as Craft, Bidak and Quintero represented Arizona in the finals on the 1m diving board. Senior Ashley Herrera led the women on the 3m board, placing first in the consolation finals with a score of 273.75.
Craft led the men, placing third in the finals with a 319.05.
Quintero wasn’t far behind, compiling a 313.6, enough to earn himself fifth place.
“I didn’t like my performance that much [in the 1m],” Quintero said. “I missed three dives. I feel like I could have done better and if I only missed one, I would have probably gotten third.”
Bidak performed well enough on the first day to secure himself a place in the finals. He subsequently placed 8th with a score of 303.55.
“Right now we are working to increase the difficulty degree,” Ojeda said. “All of the corrections are right there — if we can add the extra flip here, extra twist there — it can be a difference of up to 30 points.”
Arizona edges Boise State in Competition
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the women participated in a duel against Boise State, winning thirteen of the fourteen events including both relays at Hillenbrand Aquatics Center.
Seniors Lauren Smart and Chelsey Salli and junior Margo Geer represented the Lady Wildcats, placing first in two events each, while freshman Bonnie Brandon continued to dominate, winning three events.