The University of Miami can add another national championship to its list of recent success. Well they sort of can, as this title is an individual one.
Senior diver Imre Lengyel can stand tall along with the championship UM football and baseball teams, as he captured first place in platform diving at the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Athens, Georgia at the campus of University of Georgia last Sunday.
Lengyel’s NCAA Championship in platform diving marks the twelfth straight year that the University of Miami has won a diving national championship.
“This is my last year and event ever in my college diving career, so I really expected to win,” said Lengyel, who is from Budapest, Hungary. “I just don’t think I should have waited until my senior year to win.”
Lengyel won the event without much of a threat by scoring a 620.25 in the finals round. Justin Dumais of Texas was a distant second at 577.15.
Lengyel won the national championship in platform diving after struggling in his first two events of the weekend. Lengyel placed twenty-third in the 1-meter and came up just short with a second place finish in the three-meter.
“My coach [Randy Ableman] put some juice in me after I came up short and pumped me up for the 10 meter,” said Lengyel.
Lengyel’s performance at the NCAA Championships earned him All-American honors along with fellow Miami divers Stefan Ahrens (fourth in the one-meter) and Miguel Velazquez (fourth in the platform event). The University of Miami finished in 13th place in the team standings.
Lengyel’s national championship is the icing on the cake for a very successful diving career at Miami. This season, Lengyel was named the Big East Most Outstanding Men’s Diver after he won the men’s one-meter and three-meter competitions at the Big East Championships in February. The honor was the second of his career, as Lengyel also took home the 2000 Big East Diver of the Year.
To qualify for the nationals, Lengyel placed second in the one-meter and three-meter events at the Zone B Diving Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I am really happy that I won, but at the same time, I am sad that my career at the University of Miami is over,” Lengyel said.
Lengyel has also competed on the national team for his native Hungary, where he finished eleventh in the three-meter springboard and competed in the ten-meter platform at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Lengyel hopes to compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.
“I will be very happy if I make the Olympic team,” Lengyel said. “But either way I will probably retire after the next Olympics.”