Divers Head to NCAA Zone E Championships in Oklahoma City, OK

March 7, 2006

Five Bruin divers will head to Oklahoma City, OK March 9-11 for the NCAA Zone E Championships, a meet which qualifies athletes for the NCAA Swim and Dive Championships held in Athens, GA March 16-18.

Heading to Oklahoma are senior Paige Thompson, junior Sara Clark and freshmen Marisa Samaniego, Brittany Hill and Tess Schofield.

'I am very excited about the upcoming weekend in Oklahoma City,' said Dive Coach Tom Stebbins. 'With 11 spots available to make the NCAA Meet, I am looking for our team to continue its impressive post season and really make a mark at the upcoming Zone E Championship.'

'Since putting together the best team performance I have ever had at a Conference Championship, the team has bounced right back to form. I believe that we have addressed the small issues that may have prevented us from being even better than we were in Seattle, and the team has really bounced back nicely to prepare themselves for this weekend.'

'I look for us to be led by Paige, Sara, and Marisa, as we have been all year.

Thompson leads the way for UCLA after an impressive senior season. Thompson became the first woman in Pac-10 and UCLA history to earn consecutive Pac-10 Diver of the Month honors. She was also the first woman in UCLA history to receive a Pac-10 Diver of the Month award. In December, Thompson was honored for her performance at the Georgia Invite where she placed third on 3M and sixth on 1M. In January, Thompson received the second Pac-10 honor after finishing third on both the 1M and 3M events against Indiana, winning the 3M and placing 2nd on 1M against Stanford, and after winning 3M and 1M (new meet reocrd) versus California. At the Pac-10 Championships, Thompson placed sixth on three-meter, seventh on one-meter and ninth on platform. This season, she has posted top scores of 305.55 on one-meter and 316.50 on three-meter.

Being a senior, Paige has the most to gain from the weekend. She is a former NCAA Qualifier and will look to return to NCAA's where I believe she is good enough to do something significant.'

Clark, who redshirted the 2005 season, has done an incredible job for the Bruins in 2006. At the Pac-10 Championships, Clark led UCLA as the highest finisher with a fourth-place finish on 1M and 3M. She also placed 13th on platform at Pac-10's. This season she has posted top scores of 293.175 on one-meter and 318.85 on three-meter.

'Sara has just gotten better every week she has been in the water, since returning last spring. I am so impressed with her growth and development over the past ten months and I could not be more proud of the things she has accomplished, and I believe her best is still to come.'

Samaniego has made a huge impact on the UCLA dive team in just her first year with the Bruins. At Pac-10's she placed fifth on 1M and ninth on 3M. This season, Samaniego has posted top scores of 290.475 on one-meter and 295.50 on three-meter.

'Marisa has had a great first year and this meet is just icing on the cake for her. No matter what happens, I am extremely pleased with the direction of her development.'

Both Schofield and Hill have been solid contributors to the dive team all season, most recently at the Pac-10 Championships. Hill placed seventh, while Schofield was 10th on the platform. On 1M, Hill placed 13th with Schofield finishing 15th, and on 3M, Schofield was 11th, while Hill finished 13th.

'Tess and Brittany have done an outstanding job during the past two weeks. While I was very impressed with how they competed in Seattle, they have done an even better job of adjusting to the rest period we are in, and in return, the level of diving they are now capable is even higher than it was two weeks ago.'

'I am very excited for the weekend and all of the opportunity that will be available. I know that my team feels exactly the same way.'

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