March 12, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Auburn junior John Santeiu will make his second appearance at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships after winning the 3-meter springboard event Tuesday at the NCAA Zone B Diving competition at Tennessee's Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
But it was a good news, bad news kind of day for the Tigers. Sophomore Fraser McKean, who appeared to be in a strong position to advance after a third-place finish in the 1-meter final on Monday, is now on the outside looking in after a fourth-place finish on the 3-meter board.
"Today was a little bittersweet," Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "I'm really proud of John with the win and advancing to the NCAA Championships. But his win, coupled with Nick McCrory (of Duke) doing simpler dives and finishing out of the top three, knocked Fraser out of the meet unless something crazy happens tomorrow. There's one spot remaining, and that's the winner of tower."
Santeiu's 12-dive score of 746.80 was 15 points clear of Tennessee's Brent Sterling, who also qualified for his second-straight NCAA Championship appearance. McKean finished with a score of 706.95, good for fourth place, but recorded below-average scores on his final two dives to knock him out of the top three.
Third place went to Duke's Jordan Long, who was in second place after the preliminary round, prompting McCrory to go with the simpler, lower-scoring list in the final to give his teammate a chance to move up. The move paid off, and with a win on platform by McCrory, Santeiu, Sterling or Florida State's Thomas Neubacher, the Blue Devils will have two qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. McKean could only qualify for the Championships if he wins the platform final Wednesday.
Zone B was only allotted five spots at this year's Championships, down from eight available spots last season. Qualifying spots are awarded based on each Zone's finish at the previous year's NCAA Championships.
All five men's divers advanced to the 3-meter finals. Freshman Justin Youtsey turned in another strong performance, finishing 11th in the 3-meter final with a score of 649.25, and fellow freshman Andrew Laing was 15th with a 638.60. Sophomore Michael Beran finished 18th with a 607.30.
"All four guys got into finals, which is on the plus side," Shaffer said. "Justin actually ended up doing another new dive in the finals. We had nothing to lose, so he did an inward three-and-a-half for the first time, so that was exciting. Andrew was just a few points off his personal best in the second list. So there was some good to go with the bitter disappointment of not having two guys at the NCAA Championships when we really thought we would, but that's the way the ball bounced today."
In the women's 1-meter event, two Tigers advanced to the 18-diver final. Sophomore Cinzia Calabretta posted the top finish for Auburn with a 15th-place score of 516.60, and freshman Morgan Mullins was 16th with a 503.65. Sophomore Shanna Schuelein was 22nd in the prelims with a 243.30, and freshman Carly Scheper was 23rd with a 240.00.
"When you only do six dives in women's 1-meter and everyone is doing the same dives, there's not much room for error," Shaffer said. "But I'm really proud of Morgan getting in two event finals after coming off a knee injury early in January."
The men's and women's platform events will wrap up the three-day meet Wednesday. Only the men's platform champion will advance to the NCAA Championships while at least the top three and as many as four finishers on the women's side could qualify for Indianapolis. The women's event gets underway at 9:30 a.m. CT with the men's event scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. CT start. Live scoring is available via Divemeets.com, and UTSports.com will have free live video.