Florida Divers Kahlia Warner, Sam Smith Solidify NCAA Berths in Day 2 at Zone Diving
Results: 1M Prelims | 1M Finals
Results: 3M Prelims | 3M Finals
By Ben Schmitz
ATLANTA — University of Florida divers Kahlia Warner and Sam Smith each solidified a spot at the 2016 NCAA Championships this afternoon with a pair of Top-10 finishes off their respective boards at the 2016 NCAA Zone Diving Championships. Warner dove to a first-place finish for the second day in a row while Smith brought home a seventh-place showing on the 1-Meter to punch his first-ever ticket to the big stage.
Mirroring her back-to-back springboard wins at the SEC Championships, Warner strung together a brilliant performance on the 3-Meter event. Her preliminary performance (331.85) ranked third among a 45-member field. With just the top eight spots advancing to the NCAA Meet, the Queensland, Australia, native solidified her spot with a remarkable six-dive score of 354.95 on the back end. Her 12-dive mark of 686.80 clinched the top spot.
Warner was also joined in the 3-Meter finals by fellow senior Emily Mosher. A Cincinnati, Ohio, native, Mosher posted a six-dive score of 283.65 in the prelims and totaled a 12-dive mark of 570.65 to finish 13th overall.
Senior Delaney Dye joined both Warner and Mosher in the finals and finished 29th overall with a score of 262.90.
On the men’s side, Smith, a Knoxville, Tennessee, native, posted a 1-Meter six-dive score of 323.80 in the prelims which ranked eighth among the 37-man field. Later on in the finals, he bettered his prelims total with a 333.50 on six dives to finish seventh overall — diving to a 12-dive point-total of 657.30.
Smith was joined in the finals by senior Zach Hernandez, who finished 18th overall. Hernandez dove a prelims score of 288.60 and held a 14th-place position after six dives. His six-dive set in the finals brought in 266.85 points but lowered his final position to an 18th-place finish.
Redshirt sophomore Dalton Goss was the third and final Gator to compete on the 1-Meter event. Goss’ 263.25 prelims score wasn’t enough to make the finals, but it landed him a spot among the Top-25 divers competing in Day Two competition (24th overall).
Florida Diving Head Coach Dale Schultz on the Afternoon:
“I’m really excited with how we dove today. We showed up and competed well.
On the men’s side, we had Sam Smith, who showed up to the meet walking on crutches from his missed dive yesterday, and he competed well enough to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships. He battled through his sets and even left the meet in crutches.
Zach Hernandez also had a strong afternoon. I was happy to see him and Dalton do well in their final springboard event this season.
On the women’s side, I got a really strong showing from Emily Mosher who made the finals in the 3-Meter and finished 13th overall. She’s such a hard worker and does an outstanding job at practice. It was good to see her go out on a high note in her last collegiate performance.
Kahlia Warner also had an impressive afternoon, diving to her second win and clinching a spot at the NCAA Championships. At this point we’re looking to get back and rest a bit before we wrap things up tomorrow on the platform.”
Warner at the 2015 NCAA Championships:
Warner competed in her first-career NCAA meet and earned her first-career All-American honor on day one of the 2015 NCAA Championships. She placed sixth in the one-meter finals, diving to a score of 321.75. With that, Warner became UF’s first diver since 2011 to earn an All-American honor and its second-ever female to earn the accolade on the one-meter board. Monica Dodson was the Gators’ last All-American diver and Megan Neyer (1982-86) was the last to accomplish the feat on the one-meter.
Warner at the 2016 SEC Championships:
Senior Kahlia Warner was named the 2016 SEC Female Diver of the 2016 SEC Championships. The Queensland, Australia, native, dove to first-place finishes on the one and 3-Meter springboards — where she achieved school records on both boards. Warner now joins former Gator Great, Megan Neyer (1982-1986), as the only two divers to post wins on each board at the conference meet in the same season.
Who’s competing at the 2016 NCAA Championships:
On March 2, the NCAA announced Nine Florida Swimmers Have Qualified for the 2016 NCAA Championships in addition to four relay events. Those nine swimmers will be joined by at least Senior Kahlia Warner, with possible additions as the NCAA Zone Diving Meet continues throughout the week.
NCAA Championships Coverage:
ESPN3 will stream live the championship finals sessions Friday and Saturday. Tape delayed coverage of the championships will be broadcast on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Eastern, March 29 for the women’s championships All sessions not streamed by ESPN will be streamed live on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships microsite.
The Florida divers return to action tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET when both the men and women dive from the platform.
Live Stats from this week’s competition can be found at: www.divemeets.com