Diving | Two Tufts divers look to qualify for NCAA Championship
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 07:02
Juniors Johann Schmidt and Sami Bloom both have a chance this weekend to qualify for NCAA Div. III Diving Championships at the regional-zone qualifying meet in Springfield, MA.
Schmidt, the returning 1-meter national champion, is hoping to progress through the zone meet smoothly on his way to nationals, while Bloom will likely face some tougher competition this weekend.
Schmidt, who placed second in the 1-meter and first in the 3-meter at NESCACs this weekend, looks to repeat his performance while keeping most of his energy focused on Nationals.
“My strategy is the same as this past weekend,” he said. “I just want to keep steady, I’m not going to change any dives. Hopefully I’ll be as consistent as I was this past weekend.”
Schmidt will face some strong divers this weekend, ones that he will probably face again at Nationals. He will be keeping an eye on Amherst junior Colin White, who took his NESCAC crown in the 1-meter and has been a source of competition for the past three years. Two other divers from Amherst and one from Williams will be the top competition as Schmidt tries to pull off a top-five finish.
Bloom is right on the cusp of making it to Nationals, and Coach Brad Snodgrass believes that it will come down to the difference between a good day and a bad day of diving.
“If she has a good day I think she could move on,” Snodgrass said. “She really just has to dive well.”
Bloom was studying abroad during the fall semester and missed a good portion of the season, but she came into her first meet and made an NCAA qualifying score. After returning to campus Bloom had to intensify her training regime to get back to where she was last year.
“I definitely had to train a lot harder because I didn’t have enough time,” she said. “In the end I’m back to the level that I should be.”
Snodgrass is confident in Bloom’s performance so far this season and believes that she is even more prepared than in past years to move up to the national level. Bloom has qualified for nationals before, but has never made it through the video-selection process to be one of 20 divers from across the country to go all the way.
“Sami has been in consideration before,” Snodgrass said. “But this is the first year that she has had a really good chance of moving on.”
This is the first year that Div. III schools have had a zone qualifying meet for NCAA — in past years, a panel of coaches and judges used videos to choose which divers would move on.
Following increasing pressure from coaches about the unfairness and bias in the video system, the NCAA changed the Div. III rules to be in line with those already used in Div. I.
There are four qualifying zones across the country, but according to Snodgrass the Northeast zone that Tufts participates in is one of the toughest, both in terms of competition and sheer number of teams. He expects six to eight divers to advance from the zone for both men and women.
Divers and coaches alike are looking forward to the meet as a chance to perform in a championship setting and compete head-to-head. Bloom, in particular, will be able to focus on her own dives and not team scores.
“Unlike NESCACs — that was really about trying to score as many points for the team as you could,— this is more about showing your skills,” she said. “It’s more about trying to be as good as possible individually.”
Bloom’s goal for the meet is to show consistency throughout her dives while trying some slightly harder moves.
“We want to make sure she’s putting her best dives out there,” Snodgrass says. “We want Sami to look good.”