In the last meet before the NCAA DIII Championships in March, the Maroons took to the boards this weekend to hopefully secure a spot at the national competition. Chicago sent three athletes to Grand Rapids, MI: first-year Agnes Lo, second-year Anna Girlich, and third-year Natalie Demuro.
The NCAA Diving Regional began on Friday with the one-meter dive. Among 20 competitors, Lo led the Maroons with a third-place finish while Demuro and Girlich followed in sixth and 11th, respectively.
With this finish, Lo qualified for the NCAA Championship and will compete with several of her swimming counterparts in the middle of March. Lo commented on her transition from high school to college diving, showing why she has already been so successful in a Maroon uniform. “I practiced about the same in club diving back at Stanford, and the intensity was comparable. College is just different in that we have competitions more often, but I enjoy that challenge because it makes me a better diver,” Lo said.
Girlich, who was the UAA Women’s Diver of the Year last year, emphasized how she has grown over the past year. “Having the experience already is super helpful. The meet is a very different atmosphere from what we're used to, and not knowing what to expect can be really stressful,” Girlich said.
Saturday ended with similar results at the three-meter board; Lo replicated her third-place finish, leading to another qualification for the final meet. Girlich improved on her mark from the one-meter by taking 10th, and Demuro ended up falling to No. 12 at the three-meter.
While this is the end of the road for two of the divers this year, the future looks incredibly bright for the Chicago diving program. Both Demuro and Girlich qualified for the regional meet last year, and their improvement this year lends itself to the idea that the squad’s trajectory only points upward. The fact that all three women have at least one more year of competition left further illustrates their potential.
“All of us are looking forward to improving ourselves next year, in terms of learning new dives and improving in consistency. I've already achieved my season goals, but I'm excited to see where the next three years will take me,” Lo said.
Echoing her teammate’s sentiments, Girlich added, “It's good to know where we all stand in our region, and we know what we have to do to improve for next year. It's exciting that all of us still have at least another year, and although we thought this season was great, there's still so much room to improve.”
Both the swimmers and divers of the Chicago program will be back in action at the NCAA Championship meet but they have two weeks to prepare as the competition commences on March 15.