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Divers take third at Championships

The Rutgers diving team took to the waters of the Big East Championships in Pittsburgh with one goal in mind — provide as much momentum as it could when the swimmers enter the pool.

The Scarlet Knights did more than that when they arrived home with a third-place finish. The result puts the swimmers in a great position when they enter this weekend’s swimming portion of the finals.

Diving coach Fred Woodruff received exactly what he wanted from his team in both 1- and 3-meter diving events.

“They dove great,” Woodruff said. “The best part was when we got to a final, they dove better, which is where you score your points. It was really exciting to see them move up.”

Louisville left the championships as first-place team finishers. The Cardinals were consistent off the boards and placed a total of five divers in the finals. Notre Dame beat out Rutgers for second in the field of eight teams.

Sophomore Nicole Scott placed sixth in the 1-meter dive final on Day 1 of the championships with a score of 251.80. Her mark beat out junior teammate Katie Kearney, who narrowly missed qualifying for the final round. Her 246.70 consolation score was good for ninth place overall in the field.

Connecticut junior Danielle Cecco won the event with a 1-meter, finals-best mark of 287.10.

“Obviously, you hope for the best case scenario, which would have been placing a few more girls in finals,” Woodruff said. “But we did very well and they dove well.”

Freshman Nicole Honey also turned in a good effort for the Knights in the 1-meter dive after a 227.60 in the preliminary round.

Her consolation score of 237.65 was good for 11th place overall. But it was her performance in the 3-meter dive the following day that set up Rutgers’ third-place finish.

The rookie qualified for the 3-meter final and scored a 211.85 mark. Her final dive gave her eighth place and secured the Knights’ strong finish.

“She did great this weekend,” Woodruff said of Honey. “The fact that she made the final was cool, which helped us a lot.”

Scott finished one spot shy of qualifying for the 3-meter final with her ninth-place consolation mark of 230.66. While the result was the Toronto native’s second top-10 finish of the weekend, the sophomore had trouble diving in the event.

The waters of the Trees Pool proved to difficult to compete in, Woodruff said.

“We faltered a little bit on 3 meter because we were having problems seeing the water in that pool,” Woodruff said. “[Scott] was having problems finding the water well, which really had adverse effects on some dives.”

Notre Dame junior Jenny Chiang completed the 3-meter final with a first-place score of 320.90. Cecco continued her strong weekend with a second-place showing in the event.

The championships also featured platform diving, although it did not count toward the final score. The event will count toward scoring next season.

Rutgers placed three divers in the top-10 platform finishers, including Scott.

Sophomore Valentina Gordon edged out Honey for the fifth-place spot, while Scott finished third in the dive.

The momentum the Knights divers provided for the swimmers is essential for head swimming and diving coach Phil Spiniello and the rest of the team’s success. The swimmers begin competition Wednesday.