Dec. 20, 2011
BY AMANDA PRUITT
Former Tennessee diver Michael Wright posted the highest score in the 1-meter semifinals Tuesday to advance to the finals at the USA Diving Winter National Championships.
Wright recorded a career-best score of 417.75 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center as one of eight divers in the field of 35 to make it to the final round, which starts Wednesday at 6 p.m.
It's all familiar territory now for Wright, who won the 1-meter title at this event two years ago at Ohio State.
"Mike dove extremely relaxed and confident," Tennessee diving coach Dave Parrington said. "To get a big score like that in prelims is hard because usually the judging is usually a little tighter."
Wright's previous career best came in February when he won the SEC 1-meter title with a score of 416.85.
Senior Ryan Helms just missed joining Wright in the final. He placed 10th with a score of 361.55, less than three points away from eighth-place finisher Samuel Dorman (363.40).
"He wasn't really sharp today," Parrington said. "He said he felt very relaxed and did some good dives, but he made a few small errors on a few dives that caught up to him in the end. He needed a 66 on his last dive which is very much in his range, but he came up three points short."
Junior Brent Sterling finished 19th in 319.55.
Wright will not be the only Vol in action Wednesday. Junior Jordan Mauney is competing in the platform quarterfinals at 2 p.m.