For Purdue divers, the chance to compete in the NCAA Championships will come down to events at Ohio State over the weekend.
The Zone C Championships feature athletes from Big Ten schools, as well as competitors from Louisville, Western Kentucky, Kentucky, Notre Dame and select schools from three other conferences.
Divers will take part in preliminary rounds for both springboard and platform competitions. The top 18 from springboard action advance to compete for a berth to the NCAA finals, while the top 12 from the platform advance.
Redshirt senior Casey Matthews, who won the 1-meter diving event at the Big Ten championships, said keeping a positive attitude will be key for Boilermaker athletes.
“Just going through this meet from past experience, it’s a long haul,” Matthews said. “It’s a marathon meet as we like to call it. We’ve just got to keep a positive frame of mind – just get through it, stay consistent and hope for the best.”
Aside from Matthews, other Purdue divers scored well at the Big Ten championships.
Jamie Bissett was the top scorer for the Purdue men in springboard action at the Big Ten Championships as the runner-up among peers with 34 points. He is one of five divers representing the Boilermaker men.
Nate Cox, who scored 18 team points in conference championship action for Purdue, placed second in men’s platform diving. His score in that event was the highest of his career.
For the Zone C events, Cox said the performance of other Purdue divers, as they try to reach national competition, matters as much as his own.
“You always want your teammates to do well,” Cox said. “Diving becomes really fun when everyone else is diving really well.”
The Boilermakers are familiar with Ohio State’s facilities. Purdue competed in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this season at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Diving head coach Adam Soldati, who will lead both the men and women’s diving team into action, said Ohio State will be a strong hosting option.
“It’s a very high-quality facility,” Soldati said. “Therefore we don’t have to deal with any facility limitations. We can go in there and do everything we’re capable of doing.”