Smart, Boushakra place well for Cal women’s diving team at Texas invitational

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In Austin, Texas this weekend, divers from eight schools across the country competed at the University of Texas Diving Invitational, but it was host Texas that came out dominant in all three events on the women’s side of the competition. None of the other schools competing even came close to the Longhorn’s performance, including the Cal women’s dive team. The team performed to expectations, unable to come out of the meet with a top-three finish.

In the first event of the weekend Thursday, the 3-meter board, Cal junior Anne Kastler continued her performance as the best Cal diver in the event this season, finishing in eighth place overall with a score of 278.70. She was the only one of the three divers representing Cal at the meet to reach the finals of the 3-meter. The Bears just missed adding two more divers to the event, as junior Sara-Lina Boushakra and sophomore Eleanor Smart finished in ninth and 10th place, respectively, but only the top eight move on to the finals.

Winning the event for Texas was All-American senior Emma Ivory-Ganja, who had a personal best score of 395.40. She was able to pass her winning score from the same event last year at the 2013 invite, by more than 30 points. Her Texas teammate, junior Meghan Houston, finished in second place, almost 60 points behind the senior.

On the second day of competition, the women competed in the 1-meter board with Kastler having a disappointing performance, not making it to the finals and finishing 16th overall. Instead, representing Cal in the finals were Smart and Boushakra, who each had good performances. Smart had a career-best score, finishing with 261.40 in the finals of the event, securing sixth place. Her teammate followed in seventh, more than 10 points behind her.

Houston won the 1-meter event for the Longhorns, securing a victory in it for the second year in a row at the Invite. This time she was only victorious over the second-place finisher from the University of Houston by six points.

To end the competition, the Bears competed in the platform, and Boushakra and Smart placed once again. Finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, the two divers capped off a successful meet individually. Their finishes in the competition were the highest ones Cal had during the whole invite. Both received NCAA Zone E qualifying marks because of their scores on the platform, satisfactory scores for the two divers who had not made as big of an impact as their teammate Kastler had so far this season.

Texas had the top finishers in the event with All-American sophomore Samantha Bromberg winning the event after taking over the lead halfway through the competition. She won by more than 50 points over her teammate and second-place finisher Ivory-Ganja.

Despite Kastler’s performance so far this year, it ended up being Smart and Boushakra having the best meet for the Bears, although they weren’t able to catch up to the all-star Texas divers. Cal will have to take their performance from their trip down south and improve upon it before NCAAs later this year.

Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s swim. Contact her at [email protected]