The Cal men’s diving squad was no match for Zone E competition, which included Olympians and some of the nation’s best collegiate divers. Highlighted by Stanford junior Kristian Ipsen’s third consecutive 1- and 3-meter titles, the results from the notoriously difficult NCAA Men’s Zone E Diving Meet were similar to the 2014 Pac-12 Men’s Diving Championships, with ASU, Arizona and Stanford taking most of the qualifying spots.
The Zone E meet took place at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., with a bevy of the best divers in the Zone E region. To punch a ticket to the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships in late March, divers must first compete in regional meets, with eight qualifiers announced after the last event.
Ipsen, winner of five NCAA zone titles throughout his diving career, was one of four Stanford divers last season to qualify for NCAAs. This year, Ipsen edged out fellow Cardinal Bradley Christensen in the finals, who had a combined prelims and finals score of 773.00 in his Zone meet debut. With their first- and second-place finishes in the 3-meter, both Ipsen and Christensen garnered automatic bids to the NCAA championships. In his first season with Hawaii’s diving team, Amund Gismervik , a sophomore from Norway, placed third behind Ipsen and Christensen. Cal sophomore Peter Cyr narrowly missed gaining one of the 18 spots in the 3-meter finals, placing 20th in the prelims.
Ipsen added another chapter to his sparkling NCAA Zone history by defending his 1-meter title Friday, for his third straight victory in that event. Ipsen was one of four Cardinal divers to finish in the top 10 for the 1-meter, including third-place finisher Christensen, senior Noah Garcia and Connor Kuremsky, who was named as an alternate Saturday. Arizona sophomore Rafael Quintero, January’s conference Men’s Diver of the Month, scored a 776.35, nearly 80 points behind Ipsen. Christensen placed third with a 755.30, continuing his stellar Zone performance. Similar to teammate Cyr, Cal junior Tyler Pullen placed 20th in the 1-meter prelims, just missing a place in the finals. Fellow junior Grayson Huston placed 23rd.
Pullen missed a spot on Saturday’s platform finals by only two spots again, placing 14th with a 281.55. Gismervik won the event, beating runner-up and defending event champion Ipsen by more than 30 points. Arizona sophomore Dominic Ricotta finished third and joined teammate Quintero as a qualifier for the NCAA championships. Following the platform prelims, Ricotta was fifth but scored a 360.95 in the finals to finish with the third best combined score.
The only other school to qualify multiple divers for NCAAs was Arizona State. Senior Riley McCormick, a two-time Olympian for Team Canada, will be making his final appearance at NCAAs after winning his third conference title in February. McCormick will be joined at the national championships by Sun Devil freshman Luke Clohessy, who shocked the conference by winning the platform event at the Pac-12 championships, upsetting Olympic medalist Ipsen and defending champion Quintero. Utah sophomore Josiah Purss rounded out the qualifiers, placing fourth in the 1-meter and sixth in the 3-meter finals.
Michelle Lee covers men’s swim. Contact her at [email protected].