Rowell qualifies for NCAA tournament for Cal women’s dive

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Senior Kahley Rowell will have her final farewell as a Bear at the NCAA tournament, where she will be the lone diving representative for Cal.

The Cal women’s diving team sent three girls to the Zone E meet this weekend, but only one will accompany the swimming team as it heads to Minneapolis in a couple of days.

“I’m excited to be able to compete with the best divers in the country one more time,” Rowell said about qualifying for the NCAAs.

Sophomores Anne Kastler and Sara-Lina Boushakra joined Rowell in Colorado, all vying for a qualifying spot in the 1-meter and 3-meter dive boards and the platform event.

The first day of the match ended with none of the Bears qualifying for the NCAAs in the 1-meter springboard. Kastler led the three with a score of 252.20, ranking 19th out of the 61 divers in the field. Rowell finished the first day ranked 24th with 248.95 points, followed by Boushakra at 42nd with a score of 222.70.

Cal went into Friday with a better chance at the 3-meter springboard, with Kastler having just recently placed fourth on the 3-meter at the Pac-12 championships two weeks ago. She earned a score of 295.80 during the preliminary rounds, earning her a bid in the finals and added 281.95 points during her additional six dives, placing 14th among 58 total divers. Rowell and Boushakra finished 25th and 37th for the 3-meter, respectively.

But the real story of the weekend was the final event the Bears competed in — the platform event. With one last chance to qualify for the NCAA tournament, the future of Cal’s season was riding on this event.

Rowell had experience in the platform event in the Zone E match before, finishing third in her sophomore year. Last year, she was the runner-up of the platform event and solidified her national ranking as a two-time All-American for the Bears after placing fifth in nationals in 2012 and eighth in 2013.

Rowell started out strong in the preliminary rounds, earning a school-record score of 304.00 points and beating her own mark of 299.80 from her second-place showing at the Pac-12 championships two weeks earlier. She added 268.50 points in the final session, giving her a grand total of 573.50. Rowell just edged out Fresno State’s Hannah Prigge, who had a score of 567.60, for the top standings.

Kastler and Boushakra finished 16th and 19th, respectively. The Bears ended the meet with Rowell being the lone diver among the 16 swimmers Cal is sending to the NCAA tournament.

Alicia Fong covers women’s swim. Contact her at [email protected]