ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Six University of Connecticut divers will compete in the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships from March 7-9 at Lenjeune Hall on the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Senior Taryn Urbanus (Quincy, Mass.), juniors Alexandra Butera (Havertown, Pa.) and Michelle Kalupski (Chicago, Ill.) and sophomore Monica Marcello (Middletown, Conn.) will represent UConn’s women’s team, while senior John Brice (Bala Cynwood, Pa.) and sophomore Daniel Kinney (Middletown, Conn.) will be in action for the men’s squad.
“We are bringing the largest group of divers to the zone meet than ever before in the history of the program,” UConn diving coach John Bransfield said. “The six divers that qualified to compete in the event have had some great successes throughout the year.”
The women’s one-meter and men’s three-meter dive get underway on Monday, while the women’s three-meter and men’s one-meter are set for Tuesday. Each of the six Huskies will participate in both diving events. There will be an additional qualifier in the men's one-meter event as well as seven other qualifiers from the remaining events. The extra spots are based off of how representatives from Zone A placed at the 2015 Championship.
“We’re looking to come back even stronger than last year and we have athletes capable of competing at the national level,” Bransfield said. “Taryn made the NCAA Championships last year by staying on her game. All four women on the three-meter made it to the finals, the only team to have every entry do that. It’s been a long six months and they’ve all put the physical work in throughout the year. Each individual now has to be tough, believe they’re prepared and be willing to throw caution to the wind while staying in the heat of the moment. They need to give everything they have.”
Brice, Butera and Urbanus each received All-American Athletic Conference honors last month for their performances at the conference championships. Kinney and Urbanus swept the Male and Female Diver of the Week accolades on Dec. 8, while Marcello earned the Female Diver of the Week nod on Feb. 2. Urbanus also took home two silver medals at the conference meet for UConn and Butera placed third on the one-meter springboard.
“Following the conference championships, we have revisited some of the drills and progressions,” Bransfield said. “We’ve slowly amped up the difficulty of skills for the divers to be ready to assert themselves next week.”
Last year, Urbanus placed second on the three-meter and third on the one-meter to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Butera came in 11th, Kalupski placed 16th and Marcello finished 18th on the one-meter. On the men’s side, Brice finished 14th in the finals of the three-meter last to conclude his time at the Zone A Meet.