March 9, 2011
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With 11 Lady Vols already having their tickets punched to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, senior Jill Pierce and junior Gabrielle Trudeau will look to add to their names to that list when they travel to Athens, Ga., to compete in the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships at Gabrielsen Natatorium.
The Orange and White duo will be up against 42 other regional divers with the top eight divers earning a trip to the Lone Star State, as the University of Texas will serve as the host site for the NCAA Championships that will take place over March 17-19.
"The zone meet is the one and only opportunity for divers nationwide to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which puts enormous pressure on the various individuals," UT Head Diving Coach Dave Parrington said. "Typically the top divers come to the forefront and get the job done, but regardless there is a great deal of pressure."
The three day competition will begin on Thursday with the 3-meter completion being first event for the Lady Vols, with prelims beginning at 3:30 p.m. and the finals getting underway at 5:45 p.m. Prelims of the 1-meter springboard will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, with the finals slated for 1:15 p.m. The meet will conclude with the platform on Saturday. Prelims for the event will begin at 10:30 a.m., with the finals starting at 1:15 p.m.
Pierce is making her second trip to the zone meet, with the last coming during the 2008-09 season. Her best chance of advancing to the national meet will come on the platform, where she qualified for the meet with a score of 232.10 at the Tennessee Invitational. Her career-best score of 292.58 on the towers came back in 2009 at the Last Chance Meet held at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
"Jill has made good progress through the springboards but we are really focusing our attention to the platform," Parrington said. "Although her results unfortunately did not show at the conference meet, she has made incredible strides in her platform diving."
This weekend will mark the third time that Trudeau has competed at the Zone B Championships. An All-American on the platform in 2009 by finishing 13th at NCAAs, Trudeau has registered zone scores in all three events.
The Montreal, Canada, native received career-best scores on both the 1- and 3-meter boards this season, while grabbing four first-place finishes in the last three dual meets. She also was UT's top finisher at the SEC Championships, scoring in all three events, including notching fourth on the platform.
"Since January, Gaby has really picked it up," Parrington said. "She had a good conference meet and I feel good about where she is at this point of the season. I certainly like her chances going into the zone meet."
An order of priority between the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform events is used to qualify the divers for the national meet. Whenever a diver earns a priority spot, the rest of their performances from the weekend are skipped to the next priority spot. The scores from the trials and finals will both count and be added together for a final total.
Live results are available at divemeets.com.