IOWA CITY, Iowa (NCAA.com) — Sam Dorman isn’t ready to leave the tropical temperatures of Miami for the more intemperate Midwest.
But he does like the springboards at Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
Dorman, plagued by inconsistency during his five-year career as a Hurricane, saved his best performance for his last Friday night in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. He shattered the NCAA 3-meter springboard diving record with 529.10 points — more than 30 points better than the mark set in the preliminaries earlier in the day by Indiana freshman James Connor.
“I was in the zone,” said Dorman, who beat 2014 champion Michael Hixon of Indiana and 2013 champion Kristian Ipsen of Stanford, who finished second and third, respectively. Connor was fourth. “I did all my dives in warmups and I just tried to stay in the same zone.”
Zone or zip code. It doesn’t matter to Dorman, who swept the 1- and 3-meter springboard events in the 2013 nationals in the same pool.
“When they had the nationals here he had a magical meet. He actually won,” said Miami diving coach Randy Ableman, a former NCAA champion at Iowa and 1980 Olympic team selection. “When they put the NCAAs here I was like, ‘Oh wow, you’re kidding.’
“We were talking about how it’s such good karma to come back here, even though we were freezing our butts off the whole time.”
Dorman froze out the competition Friday, scoring better than 80 points on each of his first five dives. He was in command after nailing his fifth dive — a forward four and a half somersault tuck with a 3.8 degree of difficulty that earned him 102.6 points. That left him just a shade under 43 points shy of the meet record.
“He just hammered it,” Ableman said.
While Dorman was dominating, his competitors were wilting.
“Unfortunately, a couple of his closest competitors were a little inconsistent tonight,” Ableman said. “They put Sam in a position where he didn’t have to do much on his last dive.”
A failed dive was the only thing between Dorman and his title.
“It was a little sketchy,” he said of the reverse one and a half somersault with three and a half twists. “But I did my best to stick with it.”
And scored 75 points.
“He does the hardest dives of anybody in the U.S,” Ableman said.
And Dorman did them better than he ever has before.
“He’s always had the ability but he’s been extremely inconsistent,” Ableman said. “This was his first 3-meter final at the NCAAs, just because he’s had some problems with that.
“This is really sweet redemption for a lot of hard work and a lot of rough times and disappointments. To finally come through in his last event as a senior … And he won because he was the most consistent.”
The diving national championship was Miami’s first since Brittany Viola took home top honors in the platform in 2011 at the NCAA Women’s Championships in Austin, Texas.
“The beautiful thing is he’ll be in the record books forever. It’s something he’ll carry with him for the rest of his life,” Ableman said. “He did it against the toughest field of all time, and it’s something he can be proud of. When he’s an old man like me, he’ll look back fondly on this night.”