March 9, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - MIT's Doria Holbrook surpassed the previous NCAA record in the one-meter diving competition at the 2007 National Championships on Thursday en route to earning All-America honors for the third straight year in the event. The junior's six-dive point-total of 470.10 was good enough for the runner-up position, as Calvin sophomore Erica Deur won the event - and set the new NCAA standard in the process - with a tally of 487.00.
The previous NCAA mark had been 455.20, set by Concordia's Anne Cullen just last year.
The Engineers sit in 15th place of 38 scoring schools after day one of the competition, having earned 23 points overall. Holbrook grabbed 17 for her second-place finish, while senior Katherine Thornton picked up six with an 11th place finish in the 500-yard freestyle. Kenyon College leads the field by a wide margin after winning three events to earn a total of 190 points, placing it well ahead of second-place Amherst College (105). Defending champion Emory University sits in 4th with 100 points.
Holbrook entered the finals of the one-meter competition as the top seed after earning a score of 431.20 in prelims, but was narrowly edged by Deur for the title. It was Holbrook's best overall finish in the event, as she placed third in 2005 and fourth in 2006. The Yakima, Wash., native's practice partner, Tufts' Kendall Swett, finished ninth in prelims, just one spot away from a place in the finals.
While slightly overshadowed by her teammate's national runner-up finish, Thornton had an impressive day as well. Beginning the day seeded 27th in the nation in the 500-yard freestyle, she improved her season-best time of 5:08.70 by over four seconds in prelims, touching the wall at 5:04.46 to bump herself up to 15th and earn a spot in the consolation heat. She then did herself one better, finishing 11th overall with a time of 5:02.85 in the finals - a split that was faster than a number of swimmers in the championship heat.
Head coach Dawn Gerken was delighted after the first day of the competition, praising both of her competitors equally for top-notch performances.
"Kate had an incredible swim today," she said. "She was confident and smart, and the results of her efforts were clear. Doria was amazing as well, as she put together some great, great dives."
Both Thornton and Holbrook will return to action today. Thornton will compete in the 200-yard freestyle, in which she is ranked 36th in the country, while Holbrook will perform preliminary dives for the three-meter competition, which she won in her freshman year of 2005.