Soon-to-be Freshman Diver, Erin Mertz, Wins AAU National Titles
July 30, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. – Kansas diving NLI signee Erin Mertz dove her way to two national titles July 27-28 at the 2007 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Diving National Championship at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando. Mertz captured victories in the 18-year-old division in both the one-meter and three-meter diving competitions.
Mertz, who was representing the Husker Stars Diving program at AAU Nationals, finished first with a score of 393.40 in the finals of the three-meter competition following her second-place, 375.60 point preliminaries finish on the three-meter board.
Mertz’s best performance of the meet came in the one-meter competition where she placed first in both preliminaries (365.60) and finals (354.90) of the event. She recorded the highest scoring dive of the meet following her near-perfect front two-and-a-half tuck dive. Mertz recorded scores of seven-and-a-half, eight, eight-and-a-half, seven-and-a-half and nine, giving her a total score of 57.60 and a first-place finish for the round.
“This was a major accomplishment for Erin as far as learning how to win,” Kansas diving coach Eric Elliott said. “Erin has been to meets and been in the hunt for a victory and once you win, you learn that you have to believe that you can win going into competition. She lit it up, had a great meet and I’m extremely excited about having her at Kansas. She’s going to do really, really well because the training structure is different, including weights, nutrition and conditioning- she’ll really take off.”
Before heading to Kansas to commence her freshman season with the Jayhawks, Mertz will compete at the USA Speedo Junior National Diving Championships in Mission Viejo, Calif., a bit tougher of a competition than AAU Nationals.
“She’s very excited and hopefully she’ll do the same thing,” Elliott said. “USA Diving Nationals is a tough contest, they have good, quality divers that were not at AAU Nationals and she will need her `A’ game.”
Mertz and the Jayhawks begin their 2007-08 schedule on October 19 when they head to Ames, Iowa, for competition at the Big 12 Relays. Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for more Kansas swimming and diving news.