Texas, Minnesota Men Add Divers On Final Day of Zone D Champs

Though we’re not DiveDove, we do dabble in diving coverage, and as diving can have a major impact on the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, we cover NCAA Zone Diving – mainly through the lens of how national diving qualifiers could impact the team points battles later this month.


The Texas men qualified their fourth diver and the Minnesota men their third on the final day of the Zone D Championships. Juniors Reed Merritt (Texas) and Jeremy Moser (Minnesota) will make their NCAA debuts.

Texas should be in line for big diving points at NCAAs with four potentially NCAA-scoring divers. Jordan Windle, Grayson Campbell and Jacob Cornish were already qualified, and Merritt makes four. In addition, with divers counting as half a roster spot, Merritt is basically a free qualifier: Texas should bring Windle, Campbell and Cornish, as all three scored at NCAAs last year. Texas already cut 2 swimmers off its NCAA roster to get under the 18-man roster cap, and will have to cut two more to make room for those three divers. Bringing Merritt won’t require an extra cut.

Last year, Windle was the NCAA runner-up on platform. He placed just 5th today in Zones, but only had to make top 12 to compete in the event at NCAAs with his invite already in hand from the other two events. Cornish also scored at NCAAs last year and took 11th today.

Minnesota, meanwhile, got a surprise win from breakout junior Moser. He didn’t even qualify for NCAAs last year, and his highest Zone finish was 12th on platform. He beat out a loaded field today to earn his NCAA bid, joining Alan LeBlang (third today on platform) and Nick Yang (8th today).

Other new NCAA qualifiers today were Austin Hoherz out of Iowa and Isaac Khamis from Missouri.

On the women’s side, Texas added a meet-high fifth diver to their NCAA roster. Paola Pineda took fourth on platform to earn a bid, while Samantha Bromberg added a third event and Sofia Rauzi a second. Texas now has five divers competing in 10 total events at NCAAs on the women’s side.

Nebraska’s Abigail Knapton won the event. She was already qualified through 3-meter. Texas A&M also added another female diver: Alais Kalonji was second on platform, giving A&M two divers, each in one event.

Minnesota’s Kristen Hayden qualified in her third diving event as well, along with LSU’s Aimee Wilson.

Current Qualifiers

Simplified Qualifying Procedures

Each zone earns a certain number of NCAA qualifying spots based on how that zone has performed at NCAAs in the past. Each of the three diving events will have its own number of qualifiers from each zone.

If a diver is invited in one event, they can compete at NCAAs in any other event where they finish top 12 in their zone.

Reimbursement vs invited slots don’t mean much from a spectator perspective – both can compete at NCAAs. Reimbursement slots earn NCAA reimbursement to cover the athlete’s trip to NCAAs, while invited athletes are eligible to compete, but would have to travel to the meet on the school’s dime.

Here are the qualifying allotments per zone and the reimbursement spots per zone:


Zone A 6 5 5 Zone A 6 5 4
Zone B 9 8 6 Zone B 6 7 9
Zone C 9 8 12 Zone C 11 8 8
Zone D 9 12 9 Zone D 9 11 9
Zone E 8 8 9 Zone E 4 5 6

Reimbursement Spots Per Zone

Women Men
Zone A 5 5
Zone B 6 7
Zone C 10 8
Zone D 8 10
Zone E 11 5

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2 years ago

Interesting strategy by the Texas divers. Windle and Cornish were 1-2 after prelims then did substantially lower degree of difficulty dives in the final, dropping their placements. Anyone with more diving knowledge know why that might be?

Reply to  Jeahbrah
2 years ago

cuz once you qualify, you can swim additional events by placing 12th or better.

Reply to  Jeahbrah
2 years ago

Yes, they purposely dropped their score by doing very easy, basic dives to make sure that their teammate, Reed Merit would make the cut of 9 divers. Reed would have made it okay in the 9th spot without help as Windle and Cornish’s dropped scores put him in 7th. But going into the final they didn’t want to take any chances. Samantha (Murphy) Bromberg did the same thing on platform to make sure her teammate, Paula Pineda made the cut.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Jeahbrah
2 years ago

Actually, they were just two dudes photoshopped onto Windle and Cornish that the UT tennis coach helped get in.

2 years ago

A 4th diver makes it an easier call for TX to drop 2 swimmers and bring in all 4 divers. When it was 3 divers, it might have been a tougher call, but this is essentially a “free” spot for the 4th diver

Reply to  SwimGeek
2 years ago

I think their 3rd diver scored in two events last year, which their 17th swimmer would not be able to do. So I don’t think a fourth diver impact the decision on bringing the third. But if you are bringing the third, might as well bring a fourth if you can.

2 years ago

Congratulations Texas Divers!!!

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Longhorn
2 years ago

On to the NCAAs to bail out the swimmers!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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