March 9, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Missouri State swimming & diving team sent freshman Garrett Nevels to Iowa City to conclude his first season with the Bears with some of Midwest's top divers at the NCAA Zone `D' Diving Championships.
Nevels, the lone qualifier for the Bears, was one of 31 male divers vying for a chance to compete at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships two weeks from now in Seattle, Wash.
The group of 31 included athletes from Iowa, LSU, Minnesota, Mizzou, Saint Louis, SMU, South Dakota State, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Competition began Thursday with the men's 3-meter board. Nevels started off strong with his inward 2 ½ somersault tuck, back 1 ½ somersault 2 ½ twist (free) and back 2 ½ somersault pike, scoring an average of 51.8 points on the first three dives. Following dive Nos. 4 and 5, Nevels had dropped in the rankings, but bounced back nicely on the final dive with his second highest score of the day. He finished 22nd out of 31.
Coming into the year with less experience on the 3-meter board, Nevels looked to capitalize on day two of Zones with the 1-meter competition. The freshman standout made the top-18, advancing past the preliminary round with a score of 312.70. After the first six dives, Nevels sat in 10th place. Carrying over the 312.70 points into finals, Nevels grinded out another 262.80 points for a composite score of 575.20 and 15th place.
"For a freshman coming into this type of competition and finishing as high as he did, he did a very great job," head diving coach James Huelskamp said.
The 15th-place finish matches the highest finish last year for MSU record-holder Eric Ducourneau at the Zone Championships.