New Mexico Megan Harper at 2014 NCAA Zone E Diving Regional
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The board doesn’t get any higher at the regional level and it doesn’t have any more (or less) bounce, but one thing is certain for New Mexico’s Megan Harper – the competition goes up a level.
Harper joins a long list of New Mexico divers who have qualified for the Zone E Diving Qualifying Meet and Harper’s name already is on that list.
The University of New Mexico senior competed in Zone E in 2013 along with Michole Timm, so Harper is well aware of the talent she will face, including USC’s Haley Ishimatsu, who won the platform and 3-meters competition at the Pac-12 meet.
Timm advanced to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in 2013 after her best performance of the season during the Zone E dives pushed her to the No. 3 spot off the 3-meter board. Harper failed to advance to the NCAA finals in 2013, but is hoping this season to give New Mexico a board representative at the NCAA meet for the third consecutive year. At the 2013 Zone E meet, Harper finished 20th off the 1-meter board and 19th at 3-meters.
The Zone E meet is a big one since it is a diver’s ticket to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. It’s also a given that no matter which divers advance from Cadet Natatorium at the U.S. Air Force Academy, they will have performed at a high level.
Harper already has performed at a high level winning the 2014 Mountain West title off the 3-meter springboard (337.20). She also finished fifth on the 1-meter board to take All-MW honors in both dives. She will not compete off the platform this year at the zone meet.
The Zone E meet begins today (Thursday) and ends on Saturday. The women’s diving field features the best of the best – 24 divers – from eight states.
The schools represented are New Mexico, Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, BYU, California, Colorado State, Denver, Fresno State, Hawai’i, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Utah and Wyoming.
The conferences competing include the Mountain West, Pac-12, Western Athletic and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The meet, featuring both men and women divers, begins Thursday with women’s 1-meter prelims and finals and men’s 3-meter prelims and finals. Harper moves on to 3-meter competition on Friday and Saturday’s competition is reserved for platform diving. There are 12 schools represented in the men’s competition with Air Force and Wyoming representing the Mountain West.
Harper is the Mountain West champion at 3-meters. In 2013, she was third at the MW meet off that board. Her All-MW honors were the fourth straight for the Lobo senior.
Here are the dives Harper will try to perfect off the 3-meter board at the Academy: 1- forward 3 ½ somersault tuck; 2- back 2 ½ somersault pike; 3- reverse 2 ½ somersault tuck, 4- back 1 ½ somersault twist free; 5- inward 2 ½ somersault tuck; 6- forward 2 ½ somersault twist pike.