“It went so well, I even surprised myself,” Michigan freshman diver Jason Coben said.
Coben gave an impressive showing at the NCAA Zone Diving Meet this weekend in Bloomington. He earned one of six spots in the NCAA Championships (March 22-24 in College Station, Tex.) by taking second place on the one-meter springboard with a score of 300.90.
“I think the reason I did so well was that I had the attitude that “I might not make it,”” Coben said. “I just went out to have fun.”
Coben placed fifth in the three-meter dive and then toned his routine down for the 10-meter platform hoping to rest his injured elbow.
The injury, which Coben described as “a bruise or stress fracture,” forced him to withdraw from the final event of the Big Ten Championships.
“It”s doing better,” Coben said. “I will give it some rest and I should be good by the time we go to Texas.”
In Texas the stakes will be higher for Coben.
“It”s going to be tough for him,” Michigan coach Dick Kimble said. “He doesn”t have that big time experience yet. But if he dives as well as he did this weekend he has an excellent chance of getting to the finals.”
But Coben wasn”t the only Wolverine in attendance. Two member”s of the women”s diving team also competed in Bloomington: Tealin Kelemen and Kelly Vander Kuyl.
Kelemen, another freshman sensation, posted her best marks in the three-meter, where she took 11th place.
“She didn”t do as well as she is capable of,” Kimble said. “But she was fantastic for us all season.”
Vander Kuyl came very close to qualifying on the platform, where she finished fourth.
“This was really good for her,” Kimble said. “She loves the tower, and she was really close to making it.”
The Michigan women”s swimming team will compete without any divers this weekend at the NCAA Championships in Long Island, N.Y.
Following the NCAA meets, Coben is tentatively scheduled to compete in the U.S. Nationals, which determine the American representatives for the Goodwill Games and the World Championships.
“Right now I need to concentrate on school,” Coben said. “If I keep my grades up, Coach Kimble and I will go.”
The national finals take place April 17-22 right at the beginning of final exams.