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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dive tested at home invite

For the Arizona diving team, the purpose of the second annual Wildcat Diving Invitational was not just to capture first place, but also to gauge the team’s progress a third of the way through the season.

After three days of high-level competition, the Wildcats now know where they stand.

“”It’s a good barometer as to where each person is individually and what we need to work on,”” said head diving coach Michele Mitchell. “”I think we are right about where we should be.””

Throughout the invitational, it was clear that schools like Arizona State and Stanford were among the competition’s elite, but Arizona was certainly in the mix. On the first day of the event, Arizona junior and last year’s winner Ben Grado showed why he is the team’s No. 1 diver.

After placing first in the men’s 1-meter preliminaries, Grado took second in the finals with a score of 355.10. He carried that momentum into day two and placed second in the 3m preliminaries with a score of 365.65.

But Grado’s invitational ended early after he injured his ankle in the first dive of the finals. He was unable to participate in the final-day platform event.

“”I think it would have been a different contest if (Grado) were healthy,”” Mitchell said.

With Grado out, freshman Cody Montgomery tried his best to pick up the slack. Montgomery finished eighth in the 1m dive on day one, eighth in the 3m consolation finals on day two and placed fifth in the day-three platform event with a score of 257.75.

In fourth place, finishing just ahead of Montgomery was sophomore Matt McCahill with a score of 274.65.

“”I felt good about my performance today,”” McCahill said after his fourth-place finish. “”It was pretty strong, especially against the competition. It’s just been going really well.””

The women’s side didn’t see quite as much success, as its highest finish was sophomore Ainsley Oliver’s sixth place in the 1m consolation finals.

Although Arizona didn’t shine its brightest, the invitational was a success. The Wildcats faced some of the country’s top competition, the freshmen gained confidence and Mitchell and the divers now know their position.

“”I think every coach would leave here probably saying, ‘Well, I know what we need to do from here forward,'”” Mitchell said. “”There’s nothing like competition to help you recognize your weaknesses. That’s why we have this competition at this time of year.””

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