March 11, 2010
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
ATLANTA - The Tennessee women's swimming and diving team has already punched 11 tickets for West Lafayette, Ind. - the site of next week's 2010 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. However, before the 13th-ranked Lady Vols head north for Purdue's Boilermaker Aquatic Center, two more athletes will look to join the NCAA squad by finishing among the top eight divers at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships this weekend.
Sophomores Gabrielle Trudeau and Jodie McGroarty will compete against other divers from the region at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center for the opportunity to be one of 41 divers selected for the national meet, which will be held from March 18-20.
On Friday, the women's 1-meter board prelims begin at 11 a.m., with finals at 1:15 p.m. Saturday's 3-meter competition prelims begin at 11 a.m., with the finals starting at 1:15 p.m. The women's platform prelims will kick off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and the finals will start at 11:30 a.m.
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. Eight divers will be selected to continue their seasons in West Lafayette next week.
Live results will be posted at divemeets.com.
"Since the NCAA Zone B Championship meet is the one and only opportunity all year for divers to qualify for the NCAA Championships the intensity level is extremely high, and even more so this year as our zone is only allocated eight spots for the women," UT diving coach Dave Parrington said. "The nature of this particular meet is to have very tight judging which lends itself to close events. The intensity, tight judging and high stakes of qualifying for the NCAAs have a habit of bringing out the best and worst of the competitors on hand, and I'm sure this year will be no exception.
"Gabbi has the experience of having already been through the gauntlet successfully which should be a plus. That said, we have geared our season towards this meet and the following week, and I anticipate Gabbi and Jodie will perform well in their effort to join their teammates at Purdue."
At the 2009 Zone B Diving Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., Trudeau, then a freshman, snagged the 10th and final spot at the national championships from the region by placing third on the platform. The Montreal, Canada, native made the most of her first trip to NCAAs, too, finishing 13th on the tower in College Station, Texas. That placement gave Trudeau honorable-mention All-America honors and made her the 10th Lady Vol diver to ever earn All-America accolades under Parrington.
This will be McGroarty's first appearance at the zone meet, after missing last year's event because of injury. She will compete on both springboards, while Trudeau is slated for all three boards.