Feb. 8, 2010
Tennessee diver Michael Wright won the one-meter springboard national championship Monday at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. The Forest Park, Ill., native also is believed to be the first African-American to win a USA Diving national title.
Behind a 396.00 school-record score, Wright won the championship at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
"This is a real big step for Mike," diving coach Dave Parrington said. "We wanted to step up and do something great today. He was solid in the prelims and really stepped it up in the finals. It was very exciting."
After competing for the Volunteers as a junior last spring, Wright is redshirting the 2009-10 season. The Winter Nationals is sanctioned by USA Diving and not the NCAA.
"I think this just proves what I have and can bring next year," Wright said. "Three-meter was rough last week so I knew I had to come back and finish out strong today."
After a below-average first dive in the preliminary round, Wright got back in the fray and used that dive as motivation.
"My first dive was--it wasn't rough, but it wasn't my best score," Wright said. "That gave me that drive and that edge to really push myself in the finals.
"When I got to the finals, I kept it basic and just took it one dive at a time."
Wright transferred to UT from Indian River Community College in 2008. He redshirted this season while recovering from a back injury.
With his championship performance, Wright broke the Tennessee one-meter springboard record previously held by 2008 Olympian Jevon Tarantino (388.65).
Complete results are available at DiveMeets.com.