Divers soaring as NCAAs near
One of the brightest spots of UH athletics for the 2009-10 season has been the consistent dominance of the women’s diving team.
Led by Anastasia Pozdniakova, the divers further cemented their dominance at the Conference USA Swimming and Diving Championships by winning gold medals in both the 3-meter and 1-meter diving events.
The divers hope to build on that momentum this weekend when they head to College Station for the NCAA Zone Diving Meet. For head diving coach Jane Figueiredo, this weekend’s goal is to qualify for next week’s NCAA Championships.
“This weekend is always tough for us because it’s qualifying week,” Figueiredo said. “We’ve got to qualify, and hopefully next week we’ll be at the NCAAs. We need to get through this week and look forward to next week.”
Figueiredo said this weekend’s competition will be stiff, but she doesn’t want her divers to worry about other divers.
“We have some very good girls who we are going up against, so really our challenge is ourselves,” Figueiredo said. “If we can stay level-headed and just concentrate on what we need to do, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
In her final season at UH, Pozdniakova has continued to pile up wins and accolades. She finished the season with four C-USA Diver of the Week Awards and has 19 in her career. Pozdniakova has won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events seven straight times, including at the C-USA Championships.
“She’s just a beautiful diver. She has amazing ability, and she’s really gotten better every year, so hopefully she can continue on that path for 2012,” Figueiredo said.
Pozdniakova isn’t the only talented diver at UH. The Cougars will compete with three others, including freshman Julia Lonnegren, who was named C-USA Diver of the Week for winning a 3-meter diving event and finishing second in a 1-meter event on Jan. 30. Divers Lacey Truelove and Jessalyn Almond both had four top-five finishes this year.
“In a good world, and it’s not too far from reality, hopefully all my girls will qualify,” Figueiredo said. “I think it’s going to be tough, but it’s definitely something we can accomplish, and that’s why I expect to have four girls going to the NCAAs.
“Our goal is to win a medal, so we’re going to continue to try to do that. Anything short of that should be a disappointment.”