Divers First to Compete for UCLA at Pac-10 Championships Beginning on Thursday

Feb. 6, 2007

The divers for the 16th-ranked UCLA Bruins will get the first chance to put some points on the board towards a Pac-10 title for UCLA as they head to Federal Way, WA for the diving section of the conference meet this week. Competition begins on Friday with the three-meter competition, followed by one-meter on Saturday and tower on Sunday.

'As a group our goal has been to win our area all year,' said dive coach Tom Stebbins. 'It is someting we set out to do for ourselves last April. This team has done all of the work necessary to make that goal a reality. We look forward to giving an edge to our swimmers when they begin their portion of our meet next week.

'I am very excited about this year's team and meet. Our group has done a very nice job of getting things together at this point in the year. When the work is good, like it has been this season, the end of the year should be a showcase of all that work and talent. '

The Bruins will send a group of six divers to the meet - seniors Amanda Blong and Sara Clark, and sophomores Brittany Hill, Shannon Pirozzi, Marisa Samaniego and Tess Schofield.

This year's team has had incredible success and several Bruins will be in the hunt for a top-three finish as well as a Pac-10 title.

Sara Clark
This fifth-year senior has had great success this season, posting seven wins throughout the year in dual meets. Against Arizona, Clark won both the one-meter and three-meter competitions. She also posted wins on three-meter against ASU, Cal, Stanford and UC San Diego. Last weekend, Clark wrapped up her dual meet career with a win on 3M against USC.

'Sara has been great all year on 3M,' noted Stebbins. 'Her only loss in the conference was at Stanford. She has been a great strength to us this year. I think she has started to really figure out the 1M portion of her list and has made some huge strides in the past couple of weeks.'

Amanda Blong
Also a fifth-year senior, Blong has flourished on the boards this season, posting two wins on one-meter, highlighted by last weekend's win over USC. She also won the one-meter competition against UC San Diego in the final home dual meet of her career.

'Amanda has dive lists that she can really handle,' said Stebbins. 'This may be the first time in her career that her dive lists have no holes. Should she put all six together this weekend, she will make it tough on everybody else up there.'

Marisa Samaniego
Samaniego, the 2006 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, has had another successful season at UCLA. She has been solid all year long and posted one-meter wins against Arizona State and California.

'Marisa is our jumper. She can move the diving board and her dives as well as anybody in the country. With all of the come out work we have put in this year, my feeling is that she is just an entry away from being dominant.'

Tess Schofield
Schofield, predominantly a tower diver, has steadily improved all season long. She is dominant on the tower, having won two events this season - at the Minnesota Invitational and the Texas Invitational.

'Tess has progressed at an even higher level than she did a year ago when she was voted Most Improved by our staff. Tess will be an important piece to our springboard puzzle, but should shine on platform. Her specialty has truly evolved into one of the better lists in the country. Tess has become so dynamic and accurate on platform this season, that I believe she will contend for the title on this event.'

Brittany Hill
Hill has shown much improvement since her first season at UCLA, posting a season-high 248.17 on 1M and 235.13 on 3M against Arizona State.

'Britt has been very steady and has really jumped a level during the past couple of weeks. She made the final a year ago on platform, and I think she has a chance to repeat that feat and do something significant at the conference level.'

Shannon Pirozzi
A transfer from Pepperdine, Pirozzi has shown improvement and potential all season long, highlighted by her performance at the Trojan Diving Invite where she score 224.20 on 1M and 204.80 on 3M.

'Shannon is our grinder. She has done a great job of just fighting through the things I have asked of her this year. The USC dual meet was a breakthrough for Shannon, and I expect that level of performance to continue ths weekend.'

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