Blugolds dive through national-qualifying scores in McPhee

David Taintor

The stands of the McPhee pool were filled with Blugold supporters as the UW-Eau Claire diving team dove into its last home invite of the season against UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh and NCAA Div. II Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Eau Claire’s diving head coach Deb Beachel said the team had performed well during the meet, and she was pleased with what they did.

“I was hoping to get some national-qualifying scores this meet, and we did,” she said.

Eau Claire came out of the meet with two divers having national-qualifying scores in the men’s 1-meter. Senior Bryan Dykstra was among the two national-qualifying divers, scoring 442.80, while junior Ken Ritt was the other, scoring 431.20. Dykstra also earned a national-qualifying time in the men’s 3-meter with 495.00.

Snatching up the top spots in the men’s 1-meter were freshman Philip Devine of Oshkosh, Dykstra, and senior Jacob Chadderdon of Oshkosh. Devine seized first with 450.85, followed by Dykstra with 442.80 in second, and Chadderdon took third with 434.05.

In the men’s 3-meter, four of the Blugold divers made it into the top 10 spots. Dykstra placed third with 495, Ritt took fifth with 415.90, junior Sam Wojta came away in ninth place with 333.15, and junior AJ Algiers rounded out the 3-meter with 271.70 in tenth place.

“I think it was a good buildup meet,” Dykstra said. “It didn’t have the best dives ever . I think it’s good to save them for conference.”

On the women’s diving side, four divers from La Crosse dove on the 3-meter board. Sophomore Rachel LaValley took first with 390.45, sophomore Shannon Doyle took second with 388.35, sophomore Samantha Koch was third with 365.50, and senior Kelly Schippers finished fourth with 299.55.

One Blugold participated in the invite. Freshman Jaimee Hall took seventh in the 1-meter dive with 221.30. La Crosse’s Doyle and LaValley finished first and second with 372.05 and 369.85, respectively. Mankato senior Allison Warner placed third with 364.55.

For one diver, this invite was the last time diving at Eau Claire’s pool. Dykstra said diving in itself is fun, but he will miss the end of the meets where all of the divers cut loose with crazy dives, like putting on a show.

Looking ahead, the Eau Claire swimming and diving team will compete in the WIAC Championships, starting Thursday in Brown Deer.

Dykstra said the diving team is sitting all right, but Oshkosh came out with a lot of good divers this year. He hopes they’ll get two or three in the top eight during conference.

Beachel said she hopes the team can improve on some of the things they didn’t nail at the invite for conference.

“I’d like to see them do what they’re capable of and get some national-qualifying scores and get some good tapes to send off for nationals,” Beachel said. “I hope to get more placings at conference, as well.”