Two Tigers dive into nationals

Monday, March 14, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:54 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Evan Watters and Nicole Frazier accomplished something over the weekend that no Missouri diver had in two decades.

Watters and Frazier, juniors on the Missouri swimming and diving team, qualified for the NCAA championships, becoming the first Tiger divers to do so since Denise Buchheister in 1982.

“It has been my dream since I started in December to get one diver to nationals,” diving coach Jamie Sweeney said.

“Now that we’ve got two, it is amazing. I am just waiting for my alarm clock to go off and wake up and realize that this was just a dream.”

Watters qualified on Friday, earning second in 1-meter diving at the Zone Diving Championships in College Station, Texas. The top two divers automatically qualified for the NCAA men’s championship, which takes place on March 24-26 in Minneapolis. Watters also finished fifth in 3-meter diving.

Watters fell short of an NCAA berth last season, finishing sixth overall at last year’s Zone championships. Only the top five divers advanced.

“It feels really good to qualify after what happened last year,” Watters said. “It felt almost inevitable to me that I would qualify.”

Unlike Watters, Frazier struggled in the 1- and 3-meter diving, failing to finish in the top 15 in either event. But she was second in platform diving on Sunday, high enough to qualify for the NCAA women’s championship on March 17-19 in West Lafayette, Ind.

The qualification was unexpected because the Tigers don’t have a platform in their practice facility.

“I wasn’t overly surprised that I came back after a rough two days,” Frazier said. “I knew I was capable of performing better and I am proud that I was able to.”

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