Seven members of the diving team will compete individually on the national stage next week in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The USA Diving Winter Nationals, a weeklong event beginning Monday, features Boilermakers competing in the 1-meter, 3-meter and 10-meter platform, as well as those heights’ respective synchronization events.
On the men’s team, Sam Bennett and Jordan Rzepka are set to represent Purdue. Bennett is competing as an individual in the 3-meter, and Rzepka in both the individual and synchronous 10-meter platform.
Rzepka’s 10-meter synchronous partner is former Boilermaker and Olympian Tyler Downs. Aside from Downs, two other former Boilers, Brandon Loschiavo and Greg Duncan, are on the lineup. Duncan and Downs competed synchronously and earned silver in the 3-meter event at the FINA Diving World Cup in October.
Leading up to the synchronous event, Rzepka said that preparation has been his focus, getting “tons of reps up on 10-meters.”
“Before you get there, you want to make sure you’re feeling good,” Rzepka said. “The phase that we’re in right now is getting some dives off, making sure we know our cues for our dives and just aiming for consistency going into the competition.”
Five divers on the women’s side are slated to compete: Sophie McAfee, Maggie Merriman, Jenna Sonnenberg, Daryn Wright and Maycey Vieta.
All of them, with the exception of Sonnenberg, are competing individually at 10-meters. Sonnenberg is only competing at the 3-meters, alongside McAfee, who is diving at both heights.
McAfee competed in the U.S. Diving Open last year, finishing 20th in the 10-meter prelims. This year, she’s claimed at least a top-five finish in every meet Purdue has competed in.
“The Big Ten has so much energy going on, and (freshman year) I wasn’t really used to that,” McAfee said. “I like Winter Nationals, which is a little bit more toned down and the auras are different, so I’m just excited to go compete.”
Wright is competing both individually and synchronously on the platform, diving with Anna Lemkin — a 15-year-old from California with multiple junior Olympic medals to her name.
The team heads out later this weekend and will compete on different days Monday through Sunday of next week.