March 12, 2013
ALBQUERQUE, N.M. - It's not uncommon for coaches and players to say that a game, match or meet on the schedule towards the end of the season is "one of the biggest games we'll play this year." Most of the time, they aren't wrong. Said game can often determine sole possession of first place in a conference, whether a championship is won or whether a great performance punches a ticket to the "big show or dance" also known as the NCAA Championships. So when Diving Coach Abel Sanchez says that Zones are the biggest meet of the year for his divers, he's not kidding.
A great performance from his pair of Lobos, Michole Timm and Megan Harper at Zone E in Colorado Spring, Colo., can send both divers on to represent the University of New Mexico at the 2013 Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis.
But first, Timm and Harper have to clear a field which features the best of the best from the Mountain West, Pac-12, Western Athletic Conference and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
"The field this year is tough because we have athletes not only from the Mountain West, but there are girls from Hawaii, UCLA, USC, Arizona and Arizona State competing," said Sanchez. "There are definitely contenders in that group, but we're going there and worrying about our dives and the things that we have to do."
Both divers performed strongly and consistently during the regular season, and both Harper and Timm walked away with medals from this year's MW Swimming and Diving Championships.
Harper medaled off the 3-meter springboard after she placed third with a score of 325.08. She was also fifth off the platform with a final tally of 235.11, and sixth off the 1-meter with 283.38 points. The performances earned Harper a third-straight selection to the All-Conference Team; she was also named the conference Diver of the Week on Nov. 8.
Timm, who was the only sophomore to place top eight in any of the diving events at the MW Championships, has improved greatly in her second season diving for Sanchez. She took silver off the 1-meter with a score of 305.64, and was a few points shy of getting a bronze in both the 3-meter and platform dives.
Off the 3-meter she tallied 321.72 points for fourth place and she was also fourth off the platform with 244.32 points.
Timm earned Diver of the Week awards twice this season on Jan. 16 and Feb. 6.
"Both girls have done great things for us all season," Sanchez said. "The goal is to send at least one diver to NCAAs. I think we have a chance to send one, maybe even two, but you never know so we're going to go out there and do our best."
Timm and Harper are two of 21 divers that are competing from the Mountain West. They are also two of only nine divers to be participating in all three events.
Competition begins on Thursday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m. with the men's 1-meter and the women's 3-meter taking place.
Fans can follow the action at Divemeets.com and check Golobos.com at the end of each day for full results and recaps.