North Texas Daily

Swimming and diving makes history at NCAA meet

Swimming and diving makes history at NCAA meet

March 25
21:23 2013

Audra Stamp / Staff Writer

The UNT swimming and diving team made history in the NCAA pool this year. The Mean Green competed at the NCAA swim meet for the first time, and one UNT diver finished highest in school zone meet diving history.

Sophomore distance swimmer Kimmy Phillips is the first swimmer in UNT history to make it to the NCAA championship. Also making history was junior diver Rebecca Taylor after she performed in her second consecutive NCAA Zone D Diving Championship and placed 12th in the three-meter dive.

“It’s such a wonderful recognition for North Texas, the program and the progress that we’ve made,” head swimming coach Joe Dykstra said. “It’s sort of a symbol that we’ve arrived on a national stage.”

Last week Phillips was invited to swim in the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming Championships in the 500-meter freestyle and the 1650-meter freestyle – her main event.

“I’m definitely nervous,” Phillips said prior to the event. “I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t nervous, but I’m excited too.”

On Thursday Phillips swam in the preliminaries for the 500 freestyle but was unable to qualify for the final. On Saturday night she faced nationally ranked swimmers in the 1,650, where she finished 26th overall with a time of 16:19.26.

“I was thinking, ‘I’m in the pool with Olympians and we’re all here duking it out,’” Phillips said. “I was definitely excited. It was bittersweet. When I got to the wall I was happy and I was done. I had no regrets.”

Over spring break, three UNT divers competed in the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships. Taylor, junior Catherine Johnson and senior Delia Covo performed in the Mean Green’s fifth appearance at the meet.

Taylor’s 12th place finish in the three-meter got her 292.50 points and led to the first UNT diver to reach the championship round of the meet. She also finished 26th on the platform dive and 40th in the one-meter.

“I feel like I had a really great meet, but I do my very best to not watch anybody else,” Taylor said. “I do better if I’m not thinking about it. I actually read a book the entire meet.”

Johnson scored 247.84 in the one-meter dive with a 23rd place finish. Covo sat out day one due to illness, but placed 44th the next day in the one-meter dive with a score of 209.75.

Although the UNT swimming and diving team’s season is over, it is excited for next year’s season. The swimming team loses only four seniors and the diving team only loses Covo.

“Any time you’re the first to do something in a program’s history, it’s special,” Dykstra said. “I think it’s what makes this year unique.”

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