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Buckeye divers wrap up trials

For five Ohio State divers, The week of Feb. 1 through 8 was full of trials.

OSU’s men and women divers competed in the 2010 USA Diving Winter Nationals and World Cup Team Trials starting Feb. 1 in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

From preliminary to semifinal to final events, the Buckeyes were constantly performing and refocusing for multiple events.

USA Diving spokeswoman Jennifer Lowery said there are 10 titles at stake from the events. For the FINA World Cup Team, they will take the top two finishers from the individual 3-meter and individual 10-meter events, Lowery said.

“So the winner is the national champion, and gets a spot on the World Cup Team, and second place gets an alternate,” Lowery said. “We’ll have a synchro trial in April to pick the two from those two events.”

OSU senior Weston Wieser started off the week of trials in the men’s 1-meter preliminaries on Feb. 1. Wieser placed second with a 366.5.

On Feb. 2, Wieser placed second in the men’s 3-meter preliminaries, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals on Feb. 4, placing 23rd.

His last event, men’s 10-meter platform, started with quarterfinals Feb. 5 immediately followed by semifinals. Wieser came in fifth with a score of 418.80, just less than 15 points behind the fourth place.

In the final round, Wieser’s first and final dive of the six rounds earned dive scores of 86.40. He came in fifth against competition like Olympic medalist David Boudia, who swept first place with just more than 116 points.

OSU senior Ryan Jefferson also had a good showing, placing sixth in the preliminary round of men’s 3-meter springboard. The Wisconsin native placed ninth in the semifinals and finished ninth in finals with an 815.10.

Feb. 4 marked the start of the week for OSU diver Katie Bell, who placed second in both women’s 10-meter platform preliminary/quarterfinals and semifinals. Bell, who won a U.S. national championship in August on the 10-meter platform, dove in two events on Feb. 6, placing third in the women’s 10-meter platform finals with an overall score of 670.85.

Bell missed the spot on the FINA World Cup Team by 6.5 points, but qualifies for the U.S. Grand Prix Team that will compete May 6 through 9 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., against divers from 20 nations.

In the women’s 10-meter synchro final later that day, Bell did not place among the top two qualifying spots. The synchro event is similar to the individual dive, but two divers perform the same dive together and are judged on their technique and synchronization.

Joining Bell in the women’s 10-meter platform was junior Kristen Asman, who went into finals ranked sixth from her semifinal dive on Feb. 4. The Columbus native scored a 529.55 with an average score of 49.81 to take ninth place in finals.

Rounding it out for the Buckeyes was third-year Bianca Alvarez.

Alvarez competed in the women’s 3-meter springboard preliminary/quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. She placed seventh in the finals, just less than 78 points shy of second place after a failed first dive.

The Miami, Fla., native paired up with 17-year-old Loren Figueroa. This was the first time the two have competed as a pair in 3-meter synchro event.

“We don’t have a lot of our skills the same; a lot of our techniques might be a little bit different,” Alvarez said after her 3-meter synchro event Sunday. So basically that’s one thing we need to work on, just trying to get together more.”

Alvarez said because her partner doesn’t live in Columbus, Figueroa will have to fly to Columbus to practice with Alvarez to prepare for future competitions together.

Paired together at a synchronized diving camp attracting the top divers from across the country, Alvarez said those that run the camp make the evaluation of which two divers look best together.

“They told us that we did [look the best together], so we stuck with that,” Alvarez said. “We just tried it out here at nationals.”

Lowery said Sunday that the experience overall was great watching the OSU divers make it all the way to the finals.

“I think Ohio State did really well. I think everyone made finals on their event. There was a really good representation: top five, top six,” Lowery said. “Katie Bell was third, Wes [Wieser] just got fifth. A really strong showing by the Buckeyes.”

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