Phoenix Divers Shine at UIC Diving Invitational
The Green Bay Phoenix diving squads headed to the University of Illinois – Chicago today for the UIC Diving Invitational. The Phoenix flippers used this opportunity to test out the facility’s boards one last time before they return for the Horizon League Championships, as well as compete against a multitude of collegiate diving teams. Conference rivals Milwaukee and UIC attended the invitational, as well as UW-Oshkosh, Illinois State University, Lincoln College, Lake Forest College, the University of Illinois, and Olivet Nazarene University.
For the first event of the day, the women competed on the 3 meter board, while the men dove off the 1 meter board. The women were led by redshirt junior Crystal Franzwa, who threw down 228.85 points for fourth place out of 21 divers. Her best dive was her first, a reverse 1 ½ somersault in the pike position, where she pulled a score of 42.55 points, but Franzwa was overall consistent.
Junior Alley Paupst and freshman Eleandra Higley finished ninth and tenth, respectively. Paupst’s best dive was her forward 1 ½ somersault with a twist in the free position, pulling three 7’s from the five judges. Higley had two rounds that resulted in the exact same point total, 46.80, which suggests that if the freshman plays her cards right, she could put herself in a good position to earn team points at the Horizon League Championships later this month. Freshman Patricia Corbin placed fifteenth, not a single difficulty level under 2.0.
However, on the women’s 1 meter board, Corbin shined. The freshman, much more at ease with the board that is the standard for high school, took home fourth place against 23 divers. She was consistent throughout the six rounds, but her last dive, the back 1 somersault with a 2 ½ twist in the free position, stood out with 44.55 points, thanks to the dive’s higher difficulty level.
Franzwa placed fifth with 227.80 points. The eldest female diver showcased a sharp final dive as well, ripping her inward 1 ½ somersault in the tuck position to garner three impressive scores of 7.5. Higley finished seventh in this event, her inward 1 ½ somersault in the tuck position pulling some 7’s her way as well. Paupst finished in thirteenth, with her best dive, the reverse 1 ½ somersault in the tuck position, drawing 37.80 points.
Michael Klemm continued his winning ways on both boards. On the 1 meter, the junior scored a total of 296.30 points, with his final dive sealing the deal. His reverse 1 ½ somersault with a 2 ½ twist in the free position earned 61.50 points, shooting past the leader to finish nearly five points ahead of second place. Klemm’s points were more constant in the 3 meter event after his first two dives, scoring over fifty points per dive for each of the last four rounds to clinch the gold and earn 301.10 points total.
Senior James Wise as well as freshmen diver duo Derrick Prenot and Joshua Yahr also had prime performances at the invitational, showing that their skills will be vital at the Horizon League Championships for the men’s team as a whole. Wise placed sixth out of 18 divers in the 1 meter event with 268.35 points total, higher than his score at last year’s conference meet. On the 3 meter board, Wise’s forward 3 ½ somersault in the tuck position as his final dive earned him 51.80 points, bringing him a fourth-place finish out of 17 divers. Prenot placed ninth on the 1 meter board, while Yahr was one place behind, both with a steady lineup of dives throughout the six rounds. On the 3 meter, Prenot earned third place, his inward 2 ½ somersault in the tuck position helping him out with 52.65 points. His overall score of 266.55 was also the tenth highest score ever received in the event by a male Phoenix, as top ten scores must be earned in a competition with a least five judges. To conclude the meet, Yahr finished in sixth, pulling 7’s on his forward 2 ½ somersault in the pike position.
The Phoenix will return to UIC as a full unit for the Horizon League Championships, lasting from February 22 through February 25.