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Diving Team Makes History On Final Day of Zones

Fraser McAlpine
Fraser McAlpine
Communications Student Assistant

COLUMBIA, Mo. – On the final day of the Zone Diving Regionals, the LSU men’s team qualified all four of its divers for the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, marking the most-ever in school history.

The men and women will have at least one representative in all three events on both springboards and platform, advancing a program-best five combined divers to compete at NCAA’s.

“Today, we completed a very successful Zone ‘D’ Regional Diving Championships. In all, we recorded a program-high five NCAA qualifiers representing 13 events,” said head diving coach Doug Shaffer.

“I am very proud as a coach of this very hard-working group of divers and excited for the opportunity ahead of us at the men’s and women’s NCAA Championships.”

Freshman Juan-Celaya Hernandez took second in the finals on platform with a 12-line score of 839.00, picking up his third-consecutive bid at NCAA’s.

A native of Mexico, Celaya-Hernandez also placed in the top-two in all three events over the three days at Zones, notching first-place finishes on both springboards in the finals.

Matthew Phillip, a sophomore from Frisco, Texas garnered his first-ever berth in the NCAA Championships after coming in fifth overall with a two-list score of 704.10. With his bid, Phillip helped the team earn a place in the school record books, becoming the fourth and final diver for the men to secure a spot at NCAA’s.

Sophomore Matt McClellan also qualified for the championships after a two-list score of 686.60 to garner his second consecutive bid at Zones, qualifying for three-meter on Tuesday.

Overall, the men put on a remarkable showing at Zones, advancing every diver from the prelims into the finals in every event to compete for a chance to qualify for the NCAA’s.

For the women, sophomore Lizzie Cui qualified on platform for the first-time, collecting her third bid of the week to take seventh place with a 10-line score of 492.15.  

Cui, a native of New Zealand, compiled scores in the top-eight in all three events at Zones, including a second-place finish on three-meter springboard.

Freshman Makayla Robillard notched a score of 432.30 in the finals to take 15th overall. Rileigh Knox, a sophomore from Windermere, Florida, rounded out the women after diving to a score of 207.25 to take 19th in the prelims.

The team will now turn its attention to preparation for the NCAA Championships. The women will compete next week from March 15-18, and the men’s squad will compete the following week from March 22-25. 

For more information and updates on LSU Swimming and Diving, please visit LSUsports.net, ‘like’ us on Facebook at LSU Swimming and Diving or follow us on Twitter @LSUswimdive.  

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