Arizona State Divers Travel To NCAA Zone E Championships

March 12, 2003

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This Week
The Arizona State Diving team is sending four student-athletes to the 2003 NCAA Zone E Diving Championships this weekend in Oklahoma City, Okla. Divers Joona Puhakka and Thomas McCrummen will represent the men while Trisha Tumlinson and Jessica Stenson compete for the women. The participants are vying for spots in their respective NCAA Championship meets which take place later this month. Action is held at the Oklahoma City Community College Pool, where the top three competitors in each event earn spots in the NCAAs.

The Polls
The CSCAA released its eighth poll of the season on February 27. The ASU men and women are both ranked 15th. This is the first time since the initial poll of the season that the teams have the same ranking. For the complete poll, visit, or see the second page of this release.

Diving At Zone E Championships
The diving squad qualified no one to the NCAA Championships last season although Thomas McCrummen barely missed a championship berth, scoring a 311.35 on the 1-meter springboard to finish fourth. Stanford's Adam Peterson registered a 312.85 to lock up the last remaining spot in the NCAAs for that event. Mark Briggs was the last ASU diver to notch a top-three spot at the Zone E meet and an NCAA berth when he finished third in the 3-meter at the Zone E meet two seasons ago.

Diving Coming Off Exceptional Pac-10 Meet
The Sun Devil divers registered outstanding performances at the Pac-10 Diving Championships Feb. 27 - Mar. 1, where they were led by freshman men's diver Joona Puhakka. Puhakka claimed Pac-10 titles on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard to become the first diver in Arizona State history to win two Pac-10 championships in the same year. The Finnish Olympian rewrote the ASU record in the 3-meter, 11-dive event by recording a 650.70 in the prelims. Puhakka's subsequent win on the 1-meter (385.75) was paired with sophomore Thomas McCrummen's second place finish (314.85) to give the Sun Devils a dominating 1-2 punch. They were the only participants to break the 300-point barrier in the 1-meter finals. For the women, sophomore Trisha Tumlinson set a new Arizona State record on platform (454.05) and finished second in that event to Blythe Hartley of USC, the defending national champion. Tumlinson finished fourth on the 1-meter and seventh on the 3-meter.

ASU, Last Time In The Pool
The men's swimming team was in action last weekend at the Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships, where they finished fourth with 439 points, their highest finish since they also finished fourth in 1998. Ahmed Hussein tied his own school record in the 100 back (47.62) during the opening leg of the 400 medley relay to lead the contingent of several swimmers to move up the ASU all-time top-ten list. Nick Brunelli clocked a 1:36.19 in the 200 free to better his previous career-best by over three-tenths of a second and move himself into fourth all-time at ASU in that event. Russell MacDonald's 100 breast prelim of 54.81 slides him into fourth in the Sun Devil record books while David Kolozar is now third all-time in the 200 fly after his 1:45.68 time in the invitational meet on Sunday. Evan Rahaeuser put himself tenth in ASU history in the 200 back with a 1:48.68 in Saturday's finals. The 200 medley relay foursome of Hussein, Emerson Ward, Ace Tate, and Bobby Zaabadich registered the fourth-fastest time in school history with a 1:28.26.

Tumlinson To Compete At World Trials
Sophomore female diver Trisha Tumlinson, the school record holder on the platform and the 1-meter optionals, has been invited by USA Diving to compete at the World Championship Trials April 10-13. Approximately 80 athletes will compete at the event held at the Gabrielson Natatorium on the campus of the University of Georgia, the same venue that was used for the trials for the 1998 World Championship. The top two individual male and female athletes in the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform events will be named to the World Championship team. 1-meter participants are selected by the coaching staff. The 10th FINA World Championships are being held July 13-20 in Barcelona, Spain. Additionally, the top four divers in each individual event will compete at the FINA/USA Diving Grand Prix, May 8-11 in The Woodlands, Texas, where Tumlinson went to high school.

Puhakka Continues Stellar Freshman Campaign
In winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter titles at the 2003 Pac-10 Diving Championships, Sun Devil freshman Joona Puhakka became the first diver in ASU history to claim two conference titles in the same year. The native of Helsinki, Finland remains undefeated on the 1-meter springboard as a Sun Devil and holds two school records: the 3-meter, 6-dive (387.90) and the 3-meter, 11-dive (650.70). Furthermore, he is less than a point shy of the school record in the 1-meter, 6-dive optionals (391.50). That score in the 1-meter optionals set a meet record at the Dallas Morning News Classic in January. Puhakka came to ASU already having seen top-level international experience, as he competed in the 2000 Olympics for Finland. Among other top finishes internationally, he finished third in the 1-meter at the 2000 European Championships, and third in the 1-meter at the 2000 Junior World Championships.

Up Next For The Sun Devils
The women's swimmers are sending seven individuals to the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships Mar. 20-22, in Auburn Ala. Representing ASU are: Petra Banovic, Claire Hedenskog, Kathryn Hennessy, �gnes Kov�cs, Florence Mauro, Sandra Steffensen, and Florencia Szigeti. The NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships are held Mar. 27-29 in Austin, Texas, although the field for the men has not yet been decided. Any divers who qualify at this weekend's Zone E meet will join their team at their respective national championship meet.

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