HOUSTON, Texas - Junior diver Sean McKinney became LSU's first male diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships after a fourth place finish on the three-meter springboard at the NCAA Zone 'D' Diving Regionals hosted at the CRWC Natatorium in Houston, Texas.
McKinney, LSU's record holder on the three-meter, finished with a 12-line score of 769.65. McKinney was in third after prelims with a score of 376.05 and completed a final round score of 393.60, which was the second best score of his career.
"Sean's performance was what I have been waiting to come out of him in an elite level competition," Diving Coach Doug Shaffer said. "It was something that I knew he could do."
Eight men and seven women will emerge from the field to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships through a qualifying process that involves final places on the one-meter, three-meter and platform.
Missouri diver David Bonuchi, Texas diver Will Chandler and Minnesotta diver Michael Ross all earned automatic qualifying spots to the NCAA's after finishing in the top three in that order on the one-meter. All three divers finished in the top-three on the three-meter. This allowed McKinney to qualify with his fourth place finish because the next NCAA qualifying spot went to the fourth place finisher on the three-meter.
Freshman Cassie Weil qualified for the NCAA Championships during the first day of competition on the three-meter after a third place finish and a 12-line total of 662.70.
On the men's three-meter, junior Kevin Leong placed 12th with a 12-line total of 656.20. Leong jumped three spots after scoring a 323.25 in the prelims. The junior counted a final round of 332.95.
On the women's one-meter, sophomore Alex Bettridge finished her run in seventh place with a 12-line total of 561.35. Bettridge compiled a score of 271.60 in the prelims and a score of 289.75 in the finals.
Weil came in 13th on the one-meter with a score of 526.20. Weil put together a prelim total of 265.65 and a final total of 260.55.
Freshman Allie Alter notched a prelim score of 244.60.
"We competed well, but were not as sharp as I would have hoped," Shaffer said. "But we fought like Tigers until the very end. Our second list was better than our first lists. We were not that far off."
"On the women's side, with only seven spots, there is no room for error. Between the one-meter and three-meter springboard, there were six different qualifiers. The top three in each event are different people. That means the only spot left is the first place finisher on the platform."
Both diving teams will compete on the platform during the last day of competition. The women's event will begin at 11 a.m. and the men's event will begin at 2:45 p.m.
Zone 'D' Region consists of LSU, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, TCU, Iowa State, Houston, Kansas, SMU, North Texas, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota State, Texas A&M and Missouri State.
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