Jayhawks Improve, Iowa State Takes Top Spots on Three-Meter
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas divers Graylyn Jones and Nadia Khechfe both improved their scores and moved up one placement from prelims to finals, but the top spots belonged to Iowa State for the second consecutive day as competition at the KU Dive Invite continued Saturday with three-meter diving at Robinson Natatorium.
Jones swapped positions with Northern Iowa’s Sarah Kemp to finish fourth overall with a combined score of 471.2 and Khechfe climbed from seventh into sixth to finish in the top half of the field with a total score of 442.95. But, just as in the one-meter competition Friday, the Cyclones earned the top-two placements with Elyse Brouillette (528.4) posting the highest scores in both prelims and finals to hold off teammate Julie Dickinson (498.5). Miranda Knipfer (Nebraska-Omaha) was third with a score of 490.55.
For Kansas, both divers added nearly 20 points from their prelims dive list to their finals dive list to make the moves.
“It was a good learning experience today,” Kansas diving coach Gabe Downey said. “I wasn’t that impressed with our attitude in the morning session, but in the evening session their mentality was so much better and we’ve been working hard on that in practice. We’ve got plenty of work to do, plenty of dives left to work on. The mentality is what’s going to carry them down the road and we’re going to need that more than whatever they placed today.”
Jones’ best dive was a back two-and-a-half pike in finals, the highest-degree of difficulty on her list, for which she scored a pair of 7.0 marks and a 6.5 from the judges for a 49.20. Khechfe’s top scoring dive of the day was her first of finals, tallying 48.0 points for a forward two-and-a-half pike.
“Graylyn’s dive was a decent dive, but had the opportunity to be great – that’s kind of emblematic of where we’re at right now,” Downey said. “She had a very solid all around performance, as did Nadia for not being able to practice three-meter this week. (Nadia) scored some 7.0s and we’ll take those this time of year, we’ll take those at Big 12s. If we’re here in two-and-a-half month’s time, yeah, we won’t be as happy, but right now, where we’re at with our training, I thought they both were really good today.”
The KU Dive Invite finishes Sunday with platform diving (five-meter) and will see Kansas go head-to-head with the Cyclones, as Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Iowa concluded competition Saturday. Platform diving prelims will begin at 9 a.m. inside Robinson Natatorium with finals to follow at 3 p.m. It’ll be the first time on the tower for the Jayhawks.
“I suspect they’re probably where we are and this will be our first tower meet of the year,” Downey said. “We haven’t really gotten very far in our training with it yet, so the volatility in scoring is going to go a little higher. It’s going to be interesting. It’ll really be like today, a good test of where our team’s minds are and where their preparation is, more than their diving.”
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