Derek Rand’s NCAA provisional qualifying time highlighted a strong showing by the Blue and Gold at the Bomber Diving Invitational at the Hill Center Pool on Sunday. Rand, a junior who finished fourth to sophomore Ryan Fuller of SUNY-Fredonia, junior William DeMoulin of SUNY-Geneseo and teammate sophomore Martin Brown in the 1-meter diving event with 401.40 points, and second to Fuller in the 3-meter diving event with 454.80 points, was the only diver on the team to meet the NCAA qualifying mark. Six schools sent divers to the Invitational; Ithaca, SUNY-Fredonia, SUNY-Geneseo, SUNY-Delhi and Hartwick College.
Rand was very pleased with his performance.
“I liked the consistency”, he said. “I was happy that I was able to put down dives pretty consistently and get fives and sixes on all of them and I’m pretty happy that I was able to pull in through the end even though it was going to be close to national qualifying.”
All four Ithaca divers had competed in the Blue and Gold’s 173-127 win at Alfred University on Saturday and Rand admitted that did cause a small amount of tiredness.
“There was a little exhaustion”, Rand said. “But I worked through it and I got a good night’s sleep so it wasn’t too bad.”
Senior Norman Nguyen who finished fifth in 1-meter diving with 399.35 points and sixth in 3-meter diving with 394.50 points, thought he did best with the more difficult “optional” dives featured in the meet.
“It was definitely the ops”, Nguyen said. “It was a challenging environment with a lot of good divers and a lot of us pulled out really awesome performances today and it was exhilarating.”
Nguyen also admitted that the prospect of qualifying for an NCAA provisional time added pressure, but said it didn’t change the team’s focus.
“There was a little more pressure but in times like these, you’ve got to relax and let things happen. Some of our divers got a really good outcome and there’s nothing else to say about that.”
Third-year diving coach Nate Brisley said that his team has made a lot of improvements this season.
“They’re just coming together a lot more”, Brisley said. “They’re focusing on some of the smaller things that obviously paid off by the results of the meet today.”
With just one dual meet left before the UNYSCSA Championships in Webster, Ny., Brisley is confident his team will be ready.
“They will be prepared absolutely”, said Brisley. “And they’re doing all the things that they need to in order to get to that point.”
In addition to Rand and Nguyen, the Bombers also received strong performances from Brown, who finished third in 1-meter diving with 407.25 points and fourth in 3-meter diving with 439.25 points and senior Mike Glicini, who finished 13th in 1-meter diving with 342.00 points and ninth in 3-meter diving with 383.65 points.
The Invitational was the last home event of the season for the Bombers and their last home event at the Hill Center before moving to the Athletics and Events Center next season. The Bombers wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Union College in Schenectady, Ny.