Jones and Khechfe End Season at NCAA Diving Championships
IOWA CITY — Kansas divers Graylyn Jones and Nadia Khechfe gained valuable experience and improved from day one to day two during the duo’s trip to the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships, which concluded Wednesday. The three-day regional collection of the best divers in the middle of the country was hosted in the University of Iowa’s Campus and Recreation Center and included all three diving events: three-meter, one-meter, and platform.
On the first day of competition, sophomore Jones placed 40th overall with a score of 223.30 after six dives. Khechfe placed 45th with a score of 210.55.
“From a place-finish standpoint, it was kind of on par with my realistic expectations,” interim diving coach Gabe Downey said. “We need to build and get better, we know that, and the girls work really hard towards that.
“The girls that finish toward the upper end of it have been doing this for quite some time. The entire meet, Nadia and Graylyn knew they needed to go do their own thing and not get wrapped up in the higher-level competition. For where they are right now, I thought they competed really well to do what they could do. I was very pleased.”
Both divers increased rankings on the one-meter boards, as Jones placed 34th with a score of 235.25 and Khechfe (228.80) placed 42nd. Although neither advanced to the final round, which includes the top-18 divers, Khechfe achieved her second-highest score for the 2014-15 season.
“They competed well on day one, and day two was even better,” Downey said. “The other good about day two was that they were closest to the top-18 finals. It showed them where the points were that could eventually get them up to there. They competed well and were competitive and were able to see how they get into finals.”
On the platform, Khechfe was the only diver representing KU. Khechfe scored 150.60, finishing 29th. Texas’ Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg, a three-time senior national champion at USA Diving events, won the platform event with a score of 340.30.
The NCAA Diving Championships marks the end of the season for Khechfe and Jones, but Downey has seen significant improvement in all four Kansas divers—and not just technically.
“I’m most happy with the progress I was able to see in them,” Downey said. “When I came in, it felt like they weren’t very confident. Now, they’ve gone up against some of the top competitors in the country, and were able to show poise and confidence. I’ve seen a huge improvement. They train better; they’re working harder and doing more things to be successful. They’re doing a great job taking strides towards where they want to be and where they need to be.”
Kansas swimming continues on with Chelsie Miller representing the Jayhawks at the NCAA Championships beginning March 19. Live results can be followed on NCAA.org.
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