Two USC Divers Earn All-America Honors
By USC SID
ATLANTA (USC SID) — University of South Carolina divers Julia Vincent and Lauren Lamendola earned All-America honors as the Gamecocks started their run at the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships on Thursday. Both Vincent and Lamendola earned their All-America laurels in the 1-meter dive.
Vincent qualified for the championship finals of the 1-meter and finished fourth overall, while Lamendola made the consolation finals and placed 15th. South Carolina was one of only three schools to have two divers finish as All-Americans on Thursday, along with Nevada and UCLA.
The Gamecocks were idle on the opening day of the NCAA Championships, but they scored 17 points on day two and sit in 21st place as a team through seven events.
Vincent grabbed the very last spot in the 1-meter championship finals, finishing eighth in prelims with a score of 298.30. The Gauteng, South Africa, native booked her finals position with her last dive, a Reverse 2 1/2 Somersault Tuck that was marked at 57.00. She earned her championship finals spot by a margin of just 0.85 points.
Once finals began, Vincent was sixth after one dive but rose as high as third. She finished fourth, with a final score of 331.05. The sophomore finished just 13.90 points behind the national champion, Sharae Zheng of Nevada. Her best dive of the evening round, once again a Reverse 2 1/2 Somersault Tuck, logged a score of 60.00.
Lamendola finished 11th in 1-meter prelims, with the top-16 result earning the senior her first career All-America nod. Her score of 296.15 included a Forward 2 1/2 Somersault Pike that was scored at 58.50.
In the consolation finals, Lamendola placed seventh for an overall finish of 15th. Her second list received a total score of 285.20, with her Forward 2 1/2 Somersault Pike again leading the way at 53.30.
The Gamecocks also had two swimmers compete on Thursday, including Taylor Worrell. The sophomore broke South Carolina’s school record in the 500-yard freestyle last month, earning a ticket to nationals. Worrell made her first NCAA appearance in the same event on Thursday, finishing 26th. She swam the race in 4:43.24.
Emma Barksdale also made her NCAA Championships debut on Thursday, taking part in the 200-yard IM. The freshman’s time of 1:59.97 was good for 48th place.
HEAD SWIMMING COACH McGee Moody – “I am really proud of all of our athletes that competed today. Taylor and Emma swam outstanding races for their first career appearances at NCAAs. Taylor moved up from her pre-race seed, which was outstanding. But today was really about our divers on the 1-meter. Julia making the finals and having the opportunity to dive for an NCAA title is outstanding. Lauren, in her senior season, being an All-American is fabulous. I’m very proud of all of those young ladies. Todd Sherritt has done a great job preparing them to peak at the right time. They deserve all the credit in the world.” – On the first day at NCAAs for the Gamecocks
HEAD DIVING COACH Todd Sherritt – “Julia has had a long year, starting all the way back with the World Championships last summer, and to turn around and dive this well in the Zone Championships and NCAAs is incredible. My plan all along was to have her peak at this meet, and it worked out. She put together two good lists and made finals with a great last dive. We did a different list for her in the finals, and it paid off. Her first dive was great, and our strategy worked. To improve from last year, where she finished 29th in the 1-meter at NCAAs, all the way to fourth place is incredible. It was a performance that leaves you speechless in some ways. She’s had such a long season, and I am very proud of her.” – On Julia Vincent’s fourth-place finish
“Lauren’s goal was to become an All-American, and she did it. It was a tough group that she dove against. Every diver who made the consolation finals was good enough to win the whole thing. She didn’t miss a dive, and I was so impressed with her performance. It’s the first time she’s ever done two lists back-to-back at that level, and I am so proud of her. She came into college without a ton of experience, but I saw a ton of talent in her and believed she could dive at an All-American level, and she proved that with her hard work. And it’s not over; I think she can do it again tomorrow.” – On Lauren Lamendola’s All-America afternoon
– Vincent and Lamendola are the first Gamecock women’s All-Americans since 2012, when Amanda Rutqvist finished 15th in the 200-yard breaststroke and Courtney Forcucci recorded finishes of 15th in the 1-meter dive and fifth in the 3-meter.
– Vincent’s All-America spot was also the first of her career and was especially sweet for the sophomore after she finished 17th last season in the 3-meter, missing All-America honors by one spot.
UP NEXT FOR CAROLINA
The NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships continue Friday in Atlanta. Vincent and Lamendola compete on the 3-meter board, while Worrell swims the 200-yard freestyle and Barksdale takes the pool in the 400-yard IM. Swimming prelims start at 10 a.m., with diving prelims at 12:15 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m.