Pruitt, Maillard punch tickets to NCAA S&D Championships
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
Conner Pruitt needed to move up six spots over his final two dives in order to punch his ticket to the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships and the freshman did it, scoring a combined 134.8 points to finish sixth on the 1-meter at the Zone B Diving Championships on Monday at Auburn’s Martin Aquatics Center.
“All of the stress that I felt over the past couple of weeks leading up to this is relieved,” Pruitt said. “When I found out (I made it) I honestly started tearing up. This was the most consistent I have been on 1-meter all year and hopefully I can do that at NCAAs.”
Next up it was Alison Maillard’s turn to earn her way to Austin, Texas, in the 3-meter competition and the junior from Houston breezed through both prelims and finals to capture a third-place finish and a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships.
“It’s really nice to have one under my belt at the start of the first three days,” Maillard said. “(Auburn diving coach) Jeff (Shaffer) told me to ‘step up and dive like a champ.’ Right before each of my dives, if my thoughts wavered, I was able to walk it back to neutral and focus on what I needed to do.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of all three of our divers today,” Shaffer said. “It’s a great feeling to walk out of here tonight knowing we have two qualifiers already.”
Pruitt, from Opelika, advanced to finals after qualifying eighth in prelims with a 329.60, his then- third-highest six-dive score of the season. He followed it up with a career-best 343.90 on his second list, cementing his spot at the championships in Austin, March 27-30. His 673.50 total score was .90 points ahead of seventh-place.
“My season is not over,” Pruitt said. “All I wanted was two consistent lists and that’s what I gave Jeff.”
“Conner was just a little bit back in prelims but had it right in front of him,” Shaffer said. “He stepped up with his best list of the season to earn his first spot and advance in a really tough field.”
Maillard advanced through prelims with a 312.90, which qualified her seventh. She then scored a 346.25, her second-best six-dive list of the season, to finish with a 659.15 total, averaging a 57.71 per dive in finals.
“Her nemesis – backs and gainers – she hit them both,” Shaffer said. “That’s a huge boost for her confidence as we move forward.”
Pruitt and Maillard can both add to their NCAA event lists with a top-12 finish in the remaining competitions.
Logan Andrews also advanced to the 1-meter finals where he finished in 14th-place with a 601.05. He advanced out of prelims with a 294.95 and then scored a 306.10, his fourth-best score of the year, on his final six dives.
“Logan was consistent,” Shaffer said. “The difference is a little degree of difficulty and finishing his entries. Being in the contest will help him tomorrow.”
The competition continues on Tuesday with the women’s 1-meter and the men’s 3-meter competitions. The women’s competition begins at 11 a.m. CT and the men’s is scheduled to start 45 minutes following the completion of the women’s finals.
To advance to the NCAA Championships on the women’s side, a diver must place either top-9 on the 1-meter, top-8 on the 3-meter or top-6 on the platform. If they fall into one of those categories, they must then place top-12 on the other boards to compete it as well at the NCAA Championships. For the men, they must finish top-6 on the 1-meter, top-7 on the 3-meter or top-9 on the platform. The same top-12 finish applies to them as well.
Admission to the Zone Diving Championships is free.
Live scoring is available on Divemeets.com.
Remaining Zone B Diving Championships Schedule:
Tuesday, March 12
11 am – Women’s 1-meter prelims (43 divers)
2 pm – Women’s 1-meter finals (18 divers)
4 pm – Men’s 3-meter prelims (37 divers)
6:15 pm – Men’s 3-meter finals (18 divers)
Wednesday, March 13
10 am – Women’s platform prelims (32 divers)
Noon – Women’s platform finals (18 divers)
2:15 pm – Men’s platform prelims (30 divers)
4:15 pm – Men’s platform finals (18 divers)
The 2019 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be held March 20-23 at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center on the University of Texas campus at Austin. The men’s championships are the following week at the same venue.