March 12, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Looking to qualify a competitor for the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row, three members of the University of Notre Dame women's diving team are set for the NCAA Zone C diving qualifier this weekend (March 13-15) in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Irish standouts Allison Casareto, Emma Gaboury and Lindsey Streepey will represent the Irish at the zone meet and will dive off the 1-meter Thursday, 3-meter Friday and platform Saturday. Action gets underway at 1 p.m. Thursday. Live stats are available through links on UND.com.
Zone C has been allocated nine spots at the 2014 NCAA Championships and the breakdown will give four spots to 3-meter, three to 1-meter and two to platform. Once a student-athlete has qualified for the NCAA Championships in one event, they can compete in all three at the national meet. If a performer qualifies in multiple events at zones, another competitor will be chosen so Zone C takes nine student-athletes to nationals.
The diving trio will compete against competitors from Ohio State, Michigan, Oakland, Miami (OH), Toledo, Akron, Illinois State, Indiana, Purdue, Cleveland State, Northwestern, Illinois, Illinois-Chicago and Ball State.
Former Notre Dame standout Jenny Chiang made the most of her Zone C meet the last two years by qualifying for the NCAA Championships after taking third in the 3-meter in 2013 and second in the 1-meter in 2012. After barely missing honorable mention All-America honors in 2012, Chiang earned the honor in the 3-meter discipline in her final campaign at Notre Dame.
Casareto is heading to zones for the third year in a row, while Gaboury and Streepey are going for the second year in a row. Last year Casareto placed ninth in the 1-meter to pace the three underclassman.
Streepey, who faired the best at the ACCs among the Irish divers by finishing sixth in the 1-meter discipline, is more prepared for zones this year after gaining some experience as a rookie.
"This year I know what to expect and how to prepare myself for the meet," said the Dallas, Texas native. "At zones there are a lot of competitors in each event so there is a long wait time during each dive when competing. It takes some adjusting because we are used to fast paced dual meets.
Casareto has also learned a lot from her two previous appearances as she looks to make her first appearance on collegiate diving's brightest stage.
"Last year I learned that you need a lot of endurance - mental as well as physical," said Casareto. "It is a long meet and a meet where a lot of people put a lot of pressure on themselves. This year I know what to expect and I know how to handle myself in this particular competitive situation."
The three will be led at zones by veteran diving coach Caiming Xie, who has been mentoring Irish divers for 19 years with great success. This year, like so many before, featured plenty of big moments and was highlighted by ACC Women's Diver of the Week honors for both Casareto and Streepey throughout the season.
"This year it felt as though Caiming talked a lot about comfort," said Casareto. "Whether it is with a specific detail in a specific dive or your entire list, Caiming always emphasized being comfortable with your abilities and being comfortable with your ability to take control of a dive in any given situation."
One difference between ACCs and zones is that while the ACCs wipe the slate clean when competitors enter the finals, the zones count prelims and finals when determining a winner.
"We've really focused on consistency (this year)," said Streepey. "At ACCs and zones, it's important to have a solid, consistent meet in order to qualify for finals."
"Every year things are a little different at this zones meet," said Casareto. "This year things are looking extremely promising, and I am excited to see how competing in the ACC conference championship will affect our confidence this upcoming week."
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director