MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Seniors Sydney Dusel (Naperville, Ill.) and Bryce Shelton (Vienna, Va.) led the Virginia men’s and women’s diving teams on the opening day (March 9) of the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships at The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park as the two UVA divers qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 1m and 3m dive, respectively.
Shelton finished second on the 3m board to qualify for his fourth consecutive NCAA Championships. The senior scored 381.25 points in the prelims to earn a spot in the finals where he recorded 355.8 points. He concluded the day with a combined score of 737.05. Additionally, Shelton qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with his score of 381.25 in the prelims.
Dusel qualified for the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish on the 1m board. She placed second in the preliminary rounds with a score of 293.45 to earn a spot in the finals. She followed with a season-best score of 317.05 in the finals to combine for a score of 610.50. Her second-place finish in the event qualified her for her third NCAA Championships.
“I thought today was a great first day for our team,” head diving coach Drew Livingston said. “Sydney (Dusel) and Bryce (Shelton) both showed their experience at this meet. They came out on their front foot and never looked back. There’s no better feeling than booking your ticket on the first day. Special congratulations are in order for Bryce for qualifying for Olympic Trials with his list from prelims.
“I’m also really encouraged with our two first-year women, Jen Bell and Charlotte Bowen. I couldn’t have asked for more in their first event at this meet. They both showed their competitiveness and I’m a proud coach. As a team, we are excited to get back up and have another go tomorrow. We have some really good events tomorrow, so we’ll keep knocking on the door and see what happens.”
Freshmen Jennifer Bell (Pelham, N.Y.) and Charlotte Bowen (Dana Point, Calif.) advanced to the finals on the 1m board. Bell placed eighth with a combined score of 531.35 after scoring 269.35 in the prelims and 262 in the finals. Bowen also recorded a top-10 finish with a combined score of 522.80. She scored 253.85 during the prelims before following with a score of 268.95 in the finals.
Divers that qualify in an event are eligible to compete at the NCAA Championships in any other event, provided that the diver placed in the top 12 at the same zone meet and has achieved the zone qualifying score.
Virginia will return to action on Tuesday to compete in the men’s 1m and women’s 3m. Events will begin at noon.