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Accompanied by UCSB Diving Coach Ann Wright, lone Gaucho freshman Lester Wright competed in his first conference diving championship meet this weekend. With some of nation’s top teams on display, Wright was unable to make the top eight and qualify for the meet’s championship dives.
“It was not what we were expecting, but for a freshman in the Pac-12 that’s not too bad.” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “He can dive with anyone and he just needs to realize that in competition.”
In the one-meter dive, Wright managed to finish 15th out of a total of 18 divers with a score of 255.00. Wright’s second dive from this height, a forward one and a half somersault two twist free, proved to be his best as he earned a score of 54.60 to take sixth place for that round.
Wright struggled on his third one-meter dive, a reverse two and a half somersault tuck, earning only 13.50 points. This dive sealed a last place finish for the round and proved to be too much to overcome in such a talented field. Stanford junior Kristian Ipsen was able to take first place in the one-meter dive finals with an ending score of 481.65.
The three-meter dive managed to produce similar results for Wright as he finished 16th out of 18 divers. Although finishing in a lower standing, Wright was able to narrow the gap between him and first place as he finished only 133.80 points back compared to the 171.70 in the one-meter.
Wright put together a great final dive in the three-meter with an ending score of 65.10. His forward three and a half somersault pike was good enough to put him in fifth place for that round. Arizona State University senior Riley McCormick was able to take first place in the finals of the three-meter with a score of 439.70, narrowly defeating Stanford’s Ispen who finished with a score of 437.05.
The final platform event was said to be Wright’s best dive and he proved that statement true as he managed to place in 11th out of 16 divers with a score of 257.05 in the preliminaries. Wright was just 109.45 points off first place, which marks his best finish for the competition.
Wright’s fourth and fifth dives off the platform each earned him a sixth place finish for their respective rounds. His fourth dive was an inward two and a half somersault tuck, which gave him a score of 57.35, and his fifth dive was a forward three and a half somersault pike, which gave him a score of 54.00.
“[Wright] was much steadier in his platform dives,” Wilson said. “His entries were a tad off, but he will make adjustments and learn from it.”
Arizona State University would go on to take first place in the platform as well. However, this victory would come off the impressive diving of freshman Luke Clohessy. Making his Pac-12 championship debut, Clohessy finished with a score of 455.20 and shocked 2013 champion Rafael Quintero of Arizona who finished with a score of 424.95.
Wright ended the diving competition scoring a total of 10 points, which will give UCSB some good momentum as it heads into the swimming portion of these championships that are set to begin on Wednesday and last through Saturday.
Wright will travel next to Colorado Springs on March 11th to compete in the NCAA regionals in hopes to qualify and move on to the NCAA championships that take place in late March.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.