On Friday and Saturday, the Kenyon divers competed in the NCAA Division III Diving Regional Championship at the University of Chicago. In both the men’s and women’s competitions, the top nine placements in each event received bids for the National Championships, held in Greensboro, N.C..
On the men’s team, Israel Zavaleta ’24, Mason Fishell ’23 and Drew Albrecht ’23 all secured a trip to nationals with their strong performances over the two-day tournament. In the one-meter championship, Zavaleta came in first with a score of 578.95, more than 100 points greater than the next closest finisher and 50 points over his first-place finish last year. Zavaleta’s best dive was an inward 2½ somersault tuck that earned 69.75 points. Fishell was not far behind in the rankings, and placed third with a score of 455.25. His best dive was also an inward 2½ somersault tuck for 51.15 points. Albrecht and Owen Peterson ’26 came in 10th and 15th place on the day, respectively.
Despite winning the Regional Championship for the second year in a row, Zavaleta emphasized in an email to the Collegian that he is still improving day by day. “I like to think that winning works as a feedback mechanism, it helps me understand where I am standing and where I want to go. I am still in the process of becoming the greatest version of myself and these results help me stay on track and keep working harder.”
In the three-meter championships the following day, Albrecht joined his teammates in securing a trip to nationals with 454.15 points and a second-place finish. Out of Albrecht’s first five dives, none scored more than 38 points. But he steadily improved, and in his sixth dive of the competition, an inward 2½ somersault pike, he earned 54.0 points. From there, Albrecht never looked back, and the lowest score out of his remaining five dives was a 40.80. Zavaleta and Fishell, who already qualified for nationals the day before due to their strong performances, placed eighth and 14th, respectively. Peterson improved upon his placement the day before to earn an 11th-place finish but was unable to qualify for Nationals.
For the women’s team, Katarina Ilic ’24 and Claire Fergusson ’24 represented the Owls, but unfortunately neither finished high enough in the standings to qualify for the National Championships. At the end of the first day, Ilic finished in 19th with a score of 356.05 in the three-meter dive while Fergusson tied for 26th. In the one-meter competition, Ilic improved to 14th place while Fergusson placed 32nd with a score of 292.05.
Starting March 15, both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will compete in the NCAA Division III Championships. The women’s swimming and diving team will try to defend its 2022 championship title, while the men’s team will look to win its first since it three-peated back in 2015.
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