Five divers from the No. 1 Michigan men’s swimming and diving team traveled to West Lafayette on Thursday in hopes of qualifying for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. When the three-day marathon of jumping, contorting and plunging finally came to an end, none of the Wolverines were able to punch their ticket to the tournament.

“We did try to focus on changing the feel of the approach,” said Michigan diving coach KZ Li. “We didn’t try and totally change, but we worked on some strategy, some techniques to make their performances better and more consistent.”

Unfortunately, though, these adjustments weren’t reflected in the team‘s performances.

On day one of the competition, Michigan got off to an abysmal start. Freshman Timothy Faerber was the Wolverines’ highest finisher, placing 19th in the one-meter springboard with 286.16 points. Junior Jack Lee was next best for Michigan, placing 22nd with 277.85.

“The first day, we didn’t do that well,” Li said. “We didn’t make the final, and we missed a little performance-wise too.”

The Wolverines fared much better on day two, placing in the top 15. Lee headlined Michigan’s effort, finishing 12th in the three-meter platform with a score of 713.90. Faerber was next best, placing 23rd with 311.05.

The Wolverines carried momentum from the previous day’s performance and produced their finest results on the final day in the 10-meter platform. Faeber and Lee both made the final for the event and ended up placing eighth and 12th, respectively.

“Overall we did well, but we’re not totally there yet,” Li said. “Some dives we didn’t do that well, and some dives we did really, really good.”

The other three divers representing Michigan consisted of juniors James Ross, Thomas Janke and Nate Rietberg. Ross placed 44th, 39th and 19th over the three-day event. Janke finished 23th, 26th and 20th. Rietberg finished 34th and 36th on days one and two, respectively, and didn’t compete in the final event.

Though none of the divers were able to qualify for NCAAs, the meet will be a valuable learning experience for the squad.

“Generally, they are young people,” Li said. “We don’t have any seniors on the team. They were exposed to some of the people there, and they learned a lot.”

Li hopes that after watching the caliber of divers Michigan competed against, the familiarity will motivate the team to work even harder in the offseason. The Wolverines have progressed quite a bit since the beginning of the season, though in order to compete at a national level, the team still has much room for improvement.

Looking ahead to next season, Li had this to say: “(My expectation) is getting much better, not only in Big Ten, but overall. And hopefully one or two (divers) will make NCAAs.”

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