On Monday, the Missouri divers did not seem as if they were preparing for the biggest meet of the season.
The two male and three female divers jumped on one another and made faces at one another through the windows of the lobby at the University Natatorium while they waited to leave for the Rec-Plex in St. Peters.
“We’re all pretty silly and we don’t take anything too seriously,” Nicole Frazier said. “I think that helps a lot because diving can be a pretty stressful sport.”
This week the team is practicing at the Rec-Plex in preparation for the Zone diving meet that starts today in Houston. The meet is the divers’ chance to qualify for the NCAA championships later this month.
The men and women have been strong this year, earning second-, third- and two fourth-place finishes at the Big 12 Conference meet Feb. 25-28 in Austin, Texas.
“I don’t think that everybody dove great every single day, but I do believe everybody dove great,” coach Greg Triefenbach said.
Evan Watters’ second place on the 1-meter board was the team’s highest finish at the Big 12 meet. He also took third on the platform and fourth in the 3-meter.
“I’ve been pretty consistent this year and can hopefully just keep doing better next year,” Watters said.
Watters, a sophomore, holds Missouri records on the 1- and 3-meter boards and ranks fourth on the platform.
“Because (Watters) has been as consistent as he has all year, he’s definitely got the benefit going into this meet,” Triefenbach said.
Aaron Wionzek has also excelled for the men, finishing fourth on the platform, sixth in the 1-meter and seventh in the 3-meter at the conference meet. Wionzek holds the Missouri record for 11 dives on the 3-meter board and is fifth on the platform.
Wionzek said it helps to practice with a strong diver like Watters.
“Every practice is kind of like a competition for us and we really push each other throughout the season,” Wionzek said.
Although the women’s swimming and diving team finished a disappointing sixth at the Big 12 meet, Frazier, Kim Massaro and Anna Massey qualified to compete at the Zone meet.
Frazier had the best finish at the conference meet, placing fourth on the platform.
“As divers we can show how well we can train throughout the whole season and carry up to the very end and get some people to nationals,” Frazier said.
Triefenbach said he is pleased with his team’s performance this year and that he believes it has a chance to do well this weekend.
“This is a very nerve-racking event that we’re going into right now,” Triefenbach said. “I mean if you think, your whole season comes down to one meet, one event.”