This week, the Iowa State diving team is going to face its final challenge in 2018 season. Dana Liva and Sydney Ronald will head to the NCAA Zone Diving Championship, competing with over 45 divers from 24 teams.
This meet will be held in the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus March 5 to March 7.
The diving team set the goal to qualify for the Zone Championship and prepared the whole season for it.
“Obviously, we want to compete in an upper level,” said diving coach Jeff Warrick. “We are going there to qualify for the championship, that is our goal.”
Warrick is satisfied with the performance of his divers this whole season, particularly in the Big 12 Championship.
In the Big 12 Conference, Liva broke the platform school record and placed third, and Ronald kept a consistent performance in the three-meter board, finishing sixth.
“I can see lots of development from our divers,” Warrick said. “Dana can be strong in a good platform list already. Sydney made the most improvement, she is doing well in her three-meter.”
Warrick still wants his divers to show up in larger stages and achieve a breakthrough.
Ronald believes the zones competition will be different than a normal meet with all of the attention put onto one specific meet.
“It’s a long wait between each dive, about 30 to 45 minutes,” Ronald said. “It’s very mentally hard, mental focus, I think that’s the big difference.”
But Ronald is good at adjusting her mind-set and focusing on her three-meter board.
"I think just being confident to do my best on the board," Ronald said.
Divers also would be a little tired in the tight schedule, especially since the Big 12 Championship just finished eight days ago.
“I want to think of it like muscle memory,” Liva said. “Not really changing anything, just maintain everything.”
Besides that, Liva cares about the opponents they will meet.
“The biggest challenge definitely is how many good divers there are,” Liva said. “There are more divers than the Big 12 and other meets.”
The competition still has the preliminary rounds and the final round. There are eighteen divers who reach the finals from the preliminary rounds. One difference from a normal meet is the scores during preliminary rounds will be added as a sum of points.
Finally, the top nine divers in each event can qualify to the next week’s NCAA Championship.
“There are a lot of great divers there. We can't control what the other divers do,” Warrick said. “But I think, right now, it’s the best opportunity for Dana on platform.”
Liva also has a clear goal for herself in the zone meet.
"I do have the expectation for it," Liva said. "I hope to be top nine, but we'll see how it goes."
As usual, Warrick doesn't want to give the divers more pressure.
“If we don't [qualify for the championship],” Warrick said. "We will keep working hard for next year, you know, use that for motivation."