University of Miami divers Jenna Dreyer and Miguel Velazquez were named the women and men’s Atlantic Coast Conference Divers of the Year, respectively, on Wednesday.
These two student-athletes became the first-ever recipients selected for this coveted award at Miami in their ACC debut.
Now they are preparing for the next step in a successful season: the national championships.
The U.S. Open National Championships are another animal totally detached from the regular season and even NCAA competition itself, as it plays more towards national loyalties.
According to Randy Abelman, head coach of the diving team, many of his excelling athletes will have different priorities in the next few weeks concerning diving.
Dreyer, a freshman who also garnered All-American honorable mention honors for the three-meter and 10-meter platform boards, is in South Africa at the moment vying for a spot on her country’s national team.
At the conference championships in Atlanta, Ga., Dreyer was awarded All-Conference honors for her first-place finish on the one-meter board and second-place finish on the three-meter board. On the one-meter board she set a record with a score of 320.75.
The senior Velazquez, a native of Mexico City, will be competing this week in Mexico to secure a spot on its national team. As a member of the UM diving team, he earned the sixth All-American recognition of his career at the NCAA Championships. There he finished third in the nation with a score of 543.50 on the 10-meter platform.
Ableman didn’t see any reason why Velazquez wouldn’t be as successful as he was.
“I was expecting him to have a meet like that,” Ableman said. “After all of the practice and repetitions, he was bound to break out at nationals.”
The men’s and women’s NCAA Championships for swimming and diving were held at the University of Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis, where Velazquez was one of the 27 ACC swimmers and divers representing the nine league schools.
|– Hometown: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
– Lists the one- and three-meter board as her favorites
– Reached the three-meter semi-finals at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece
– Won first place in the Canadian Senior Nationals on the one-meter board
|– Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
– Major: International Finance and Marketing
– Earned his third, fourth and fifth All-America honors at the 2004 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
– Selected the Big East’s Most Outstanding Diver in 2002
Last season, Velazquez earned his third, fourth and fifth All-American honors at the 2004 NCAA Championships.
Abelman feels that as a senior it was important for Velazquez to come out on top.
“I want to make sure that when my guys and girls look back there aren’t any regrets,” he said.
The Hall of Fame diving coach said that the inaugural season in the ACC was a success, mainly based on the high standard held at UM, which has produced such Olympic legends as Greg Louganis.
“I think Miami has a strong tradition, and we continue and strive to maintain that tradition,” he said.
The only diver to go to the U.S. Open National Championships and vie for a spot on the national team is Heather Bounds. Her best performance this season was on the Feb. 19 when she amassed a point total of 4423.75 at the ACC championships.
Larry Nolan can be contacted at email@example.com.