2017 M. NCAA Diving Preview: Redshirts Return In Brutal Men’s Field

2017 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

The men’s NCAA Championships are upon us with a week that promises to feature some of the best swimming and diving in the world. Here’s a look at what to watch for in each of the three diving contests:

1-Meter Springboard

  • Thursday, March 23
  • Prelims 12:15 PM
  • Consols (9-16) 15 minutes after prelims
  • Finals during Thursday Finals session
  • NCAA record: 473.75 (Kristian Ipsen, Stanford, 2013)
  • Defending Champion: Liam Stone, Tennessee – 453.70

The theme of this year’s men’s dive field is depth, as a crowd of Olympic redshirts have returned, even as all three national champions from last year return to defend their titles.

On the 1-meter springboard, that conflict involves defending champion Liam Stone of Tennessee and 2015 national champion Steele Johnson of Purdue. Johnson took last year off of collegiate competition in order to train for the Olympics. That decision was a pretty resounding success, as Johnson ultimately made the Olympic team and won silver in Rio on the 10-meter synchronized platform.

In addition, Indiana returns a pair of star divers from redshirt. James Connor was 4th back in 2015 and Michael Hixon 5th. Those two went head-to-head with Johnson in Zone C – in this 1-meter event, Hixon won with Johnson second and Connor 4th. Last year’s NCAA bronze medalist Zhipeng Zeng was third in the Zone for Ohio State. And don’t forget that Hixon was the NCAA champ in this event as a freshman, competing for Texas.

Other returning A finalists include Miami’s Briadam Herrera (who won Zone A), Texas’s Mark Anderson and Pittsburgh’s Dominic Giordano

Also keep an eye on LSU freshman Juan Hernandez and USC freshman Henry FusaroBoth won Zone titles in their rookie seasons. Hernandez topped a tough Zone D that included Texas’s Anderson (a returning A finalist). Fusaro topped Zone E, which is a little weaker, but still featured returning NCAA scorer Bradley Christensen.

Zone winners:

3-Meter Springboard

  • Friday, March 24
  • Prelims 12:15 PM
  • Consols (9-16) 15 minutes after prelims
  • Finals during Friday Finals session
  • NCAA record: 496.80 (James Connor, Indiana, 2015)
  • Defending Champion: Dominic Giordano, Pittsburgh – 460.30

Last year’s 3-meter battle came down to just three points, with Pitt’s Dominic Giordano topping Miami’s Briadam HerreraBoth are back and both look dominant this year, winning Zones A and B, respectively.

But once again, the IU duo coming back from redshirt should be factors. Michael Hixon was the NCAA runner-up back in 2015 and the NCAA champ in his freshman year in 2014. Meanwhile James Connor was 4th in 2015.

Other returning A finalists include Jack Nyquist of North Carolina, Matt Barnard out of Minnesota and Tyler Henschel of Texas A&M.

The freshman Juan Hernandez should be a rookie factor for LSU as well.

Zone winners:

Platform

  • Saturday, March 25
  • Prelims 12:00 PM
  • Consols (9-16) 15 minutes after prelims
  • Finals during Saturday Finals session
  • NCAA record: 548.90 (Nick McCrory, Duke, 2011)
  • Defending Champion: Zhipeng Zeng, Ohio State – 499.10

Last year’s platform event was a blowout, with Ohio State’s Zhipeng Zeng winning by 17 over the now-graduated Rafael Quintero of Arizona.

But 2015 national champ Steele Johnson returns for Purdue, along with that year’s runner-up (James Connor of Indiana) and bronze medalist (Matt Barnard of Minnesota).

More than half of last year’s A final return as well. Scott Lazeroff of Auburn was 3rd as a freshman. He was second in Zone B behind Miami freshman David DinsmoreAlso returning from the 2016 A final are Mark Anderson of Texas, Theodore Miclau of Stanford and Dylan Grisell of Florida State.

Zone winners:

  • A – Thomas Shinholser, Virginia Tech
  • B – David DinsmoreMiami
  • C – Christopher Law, Ohio State
  • D – Tyler Henschel, Texas A&M
  • E – Heikki Maikikallio, Arizona State

 

AB

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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