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Stanford diving heads to Tucson for tough desert test

The Stanford men and women divers will face off against some of the best competition in the West this weekend when they head to Tucson for the Arizona Diving Invitational. The three-day meet will help head diving coach Rick Schavone get a feel for the team’s strengths and weaknesses and reassess season goals.

“It’s really a working meet for us; it’s an opportunity for me to look at the team, see how they dive and see what’s missing,” Schavone said.

The meet will feature the three individual diving events, the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform. Unlike a dual meet, the invitational will feature a setup resembling the NCAA championship, with divers first competing in the preliminary competition before moving on to the finals.

“The format’s good for us. That’s the best part,” said Schavone. “And the format gives us the indication of who we’ll be facing at the zone meet,” the regional competition leading up to NCAAs.

Sophomore Kristian Ipsen will lead the way for the men’s squad, coming off an NCAA championship in the 3-meter competition and an Olympic bronze medal in the synchronized 3-meter in London. This year, his primary focus will be NCAAs as he looks to improve his already impressive resumé.

“Kristian wants to win both titles, 1- and 3-meter,” said Schavone, who will also be hoping to qualify a second diver for the meet.

On the women’s side, junior Stephanie Phipps is coming off her second All-American season and will be looking to extend her streak to three straight.

The meet will also provide a great first test for the three freshmen on the women’s squad, Alexandra Clay, Lilly Hinrichs and Kelly Markle. Schavone is looking forward to their future contributions to the team.

“Each has an area of improvement they have to make, and they’re all doing well…I do believe they will be competitive at zones at the end of the season.”

This year’s coaching changes in the men’s and women’s swimming programs seem to have run smoothly for the divers. Schavone and men’s head swim coach Ted Knapp were already close friends during Knapp’s time as assistant, and women’s head coach Greg Meehan has been more actively involved in the program. “Both have been a very good addition,” said Schavone. “Both men’s and women’s swimming have been much closer.”

One potentially limiting factor in the Arizona meet will be Stanford’s level of training. Compared to most teams, the Cardinal is a full month behind on training.  Schavone accounts for this, but still believes his teams can perform well. “Everybody else has got at least a month on us in training so they could be in a different place. But we work really hard.”

This weekend will be the first chance to see if that hard work is paying off.

Contact Ryan Hoaglund at rhoaglun@stanford.edu.