The Iowa State swimming and diving team is sending three divers down to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships.
The divers heading down to Texas are senior Dana Liva, sophomore Michelle Schlossmacher Smith and freshman Jayna Misra. This will be Schlossmacher Smith's and Misra's first diving championships, Liva competed last year. Diving coach Jeff Warrick will be heading down with them.
Although this will be the first zone diving championship for two out of the three divers, Warrick said he thinks they are ready because of the Big 12 Championships a couple weeks ago.
"They saw some fantastic divers at the Big 12 Championships, we're going to see them again," Warrick said. "I really think that does help because the second go-around is 'OK, I did this, now I can kind of relax a little bit more the right way.'"
A top performance in the championships would send the divers to the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships later in March.
To make it, the athletes have to place in either in the top 10 on the 1 meter, top 13 on the 3 meter or top nine on the platform dive.
All season long, divers have been competing to earn a spot in the zone diving championships with their scores. A score of 265 points on the 1 meter, 280 points on the 3 meter or 225 points on the platform dive earned them a spot to compete in the respective dive.
The zone diving championships are set up so that the country is split up into five zones in which divers from that zone compete against each other. Each zone gets five spots for each dive for divers to earn a spot to the championships.
Iowa State's zone gets additional spots because their zone competed well last year in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. There are a total of 46 divers competing in Iowa State's zone.
Warrick said that something different about the zone diving championships to a regular season dual is that every score matters for the divers, preliminaries and finals.
"Their final scores are added to their prelims, it's a total score," Warrick said. "So basically every dive you do matters, you don't get to start over from scratch. It definitely emphasizes consistency."
Even though there is no team score in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, Warrick said they maintain the team spirit by reiterating that they are still there representing the Cyclones.
Warrick said Head Coach Duane Sorenson has also been encouraging the divers and reminding them that the team is behind them and will be cheering them on.
"Coach Sorenson told the divers the other day, 'even though the swimmers and big team isn't going to be down there in Dallas with you, we're following your results, we are with you,'" Warrick said. "They'll probably be getting messages from people encouraging them, they know that people are watching the results, they understand they are still representing Iowa State."
Although Warrick said a number of swimmers earned a B cut to qualify for the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, none of them were fast enough to send them to the Championships.
The NCAA Zone Diving Championships will begin on Monday and go through Wednesday in Dallas, Texas. The NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will then begin a week later March 18 through March 21 in Athens, Georgia.