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Arizona Divers Head to NCAA Zone Qualifier
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 12, 2013
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March 12, 2013

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TUCSON, Ariz. Arizona’s men’s and women’s diving teams will compete in the NCAA Diving Zone E Championships beginning Thursday, March 14 and continuing through Saturday, March 16 in Colorado Springs, Colo. at the Air Force Academy’s Cadet Natatorium.

In the meet, the divers will attempt to qualify for the men’s and women’s respective NCAA Championships, taking place in Indianapolis, Ind. beginning on March 21. Live results of the Zone E Championships will be available at

Samantha Pickens, who made an appearance in the last two NCAA Championships, will look to make her third straight appearance. Pickens finished third in the 3m and fourth in the 1m at last year’s NCAA Championship. She will compete in both the 1m and 3m this weekend. In addition, senior Ashley Herrera will look for her first trip to the NCAA Championships as she will compete in all three diving events.

On the men’s side, reigning Pac-12 champion in the platform competition, Rafael Quintero, will look to punch his first ticket to the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Carter Craft, who also had a solid showing at Pac-12s, will also look to qualify for his first NCAA Championship. Meanwhile, Josh Bidak will also compete in all three diving events and is looking for his first NCAA Championship appearance.

Last season, seniors Ben Grado and Andres Guerra qualified for the Cats on the men’s side, while Pickens earned a spot on the women’s side.

There are five Zone meets around the country. Each Zone is allotted a different number of qualifying berths to the NCAA Championships, with Zone E receiving eight qualifying spots on the men’s side and nine on the women’s side. 

The top 18 finishers in the prelims advance to the championship rounds, from which the divers qualify for the NCAA Championships. There is a unique matrix utilized to divvy up the nine qualifying spots among the three competitions.

However, if a competitor places highly among multiple events at his or her Zone meet, he or she will not account for more than one of the nine qualifying slots allotted to his or her gender. So divers that place just below the automatic qualifying spots still receive NCAA berths in some instances. 

Once a competitor qualifies for the NCAA Championships in any of the three diving events, he or she is permitted to compete on all three boards at NCAAs. However, divers must continue to compete in every event at their Zone meet even if they qualify for NCAAs on the first day of Zones.

The NCAA Championships begin on March 21 with the women’s meet and the men’s meet will follow beginning on March 28. Both meets will be contested in Indianapolis, Ind.

For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat swimming and diving, visit and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSwimming.

Margo Geer P12 WOTY