March 28, 2014
|Men||1st Team||Hon. Mention|
Robles reached his first NCAA diving championship final Friday and dove his way to the bronze medal in the 3-meter springboard competition. He threw down a score of 406.65 with a consistent performance in the finals. On Thursday, he placed 11th on 1 meter.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Consistent dive after dive all day, sophomore Mauricio Robles earned bronze on the 3-meter springboard Friday at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships.
Robles became the first Vol this week to stand on the awards podium, taking third-place honors in a talented field with a six-dive score of 406.65.
"He was steady, a little sharper than he was in the prelims," Tennessee diving coach Dave Parrington said. "He didn't miss a dive. The cool thing is, there are still things he can work on, which is exciting for the future."
Through two days of the meet, the Vols moved up one place to 15th in the team standings with 57 points. Host school Texas, scoring big in relays and diving, continues to lead the field with 318.5 points, though California has closed that lead to just six points heading into the final day.
While other divers made costly errors, Robles continued to post strong scores on all his dives. In the final round of the finals, he moved ahead of Stanford's Kristian Ipsen for third place. Texas' Michael Hixon won his second diving title of the meet with a score of 457.20.
Friday was Robles' first appearance in an NCAA championship final. He dove in the consolation finals of the 1-meter springboard Thursday, placing 11th overall.
"Mau was just phenomenal today," Parrington said. "He was just more relaxed than he was yesterday. He was as steady as could be in the prelims. That's what you need to do in an event like this with all these great divers. Just land on your head, as we say.
In the pool, the Vols scored in three events. Sophomore Sean Lehane was the Vols' first individual swimming finalist of the meet, taking 15th in the 100-yard backstroke in 46.92 seconds.
"Today was similar to yesterday," Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich said. "We had some good performances and we had others that were just a little bit short. ... The guys see it. A couple tenths of a second here and there, guys who are in the consolation finals are in the finals and instead of sitting out and watching, they're swimming again."
Tennessee started out the night in the consolation finals of the 200 medley relay. The team of Lehane, Renato Prono, Sam Rairden and Luke Percy tied North Carolina for fourth in the final and 12th overall in a time of 1:25.66.
Unfortunately for the Vols, the 200 medley relay was all Rairden was capable of swimming Friday. The senior leader, scheduled to swim seven events this week, had to pull out of the 100 butterfly and the 800 freestyle relay because of a stomach illness.
Despite Rairden's absence in the 800 freestyle relay, Tennessee still picked up points. Junior Troy Tillman joined the Vols' relay as the third leg. He, Lehane, Gustav Aberg Lejdstrom and Tristan Slater finished 15th in 6:23.31.
"We really missed having Sam at full strength, but he swam a great 50 fly for us in the relay," Kredich said. "We pulled him from the 800 free relay, and Troy Tillman came in and swam his best 200 time ever. I'm really proud of the guys handling that adversity as well. They came out with a great attitude."