Tuesday, September 25

UCLA diving surges forward with wins at Trojan Diving Invitational

Sophomore diver Maria Polyakova won the 1-meter and the 3-meter dives at the Trojan Diving Invitational. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Sophomore diver Maria Polyakova won the 1-meter and the 3-meter dives at the Trojan Diving Invitational. (Daily Bruin file photo)

On a weekend when a number of UCLA teams struggled, the diving team was an exception, excelling at the Trojan Diving Invitational.

The Bruins were once again led by sophomore Maria Polyakova and junior Annika Lenz, who both recorded multiple top-three finishes at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatic Center.

Polyakova’s tremendous season continued, as she won the 1-meter and 3-meter dives in commanding fashion. Her only loss of the year was a runner-up finish on the 1-meter dive against Arizona State sophomore Mara Aiacoboae.

“There are some things that I could’ve done better, but I’m happy with my results,” Polyakova said.

At practice this past week, the main adjustment that diving coach Tom Stebbins wanted to see from his team over the weekend was an improvement in its composure and mechanical discipline. Although a season-long task, Stebbins was pleased with the progress that his divers made at the invitational.

“I thought we did a very good job of trying to maintain the pieces of the mechanical things that we worked on in preparation for the meet,” Stebbins said. “I’m really pleased with (sophomore) Ciara (Monahan). Instead of getting down about (her bad start), she clawed her way back and had a really nice weekend.”

The diving team’s youth was on display this weekend, as five of its seven divers were underclassmen, and Monahan placed in the top-five in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

“I’m really happy with how I did. On 3-meter, I broke 270 for finals, which is a really good score for me,” said Monahan. “On 1-meter, I had a rough start but I kept it together and dove better (in) finals. (It) was one of my best scores that I’ve had in a really long time.”

Among UCLA’s biggest competition this weekend was rival USC, who also has a dynamic duo of its own in divers Samantha Adams and Madison Witt. The two proved to be as successful as Polyakova and Lenz, recording multiple top-three finishes as well.

“It’s ‘SC, so we always have (a rivalry),” Stebbins said. “We’re always trying to find ways to be better than them. They’re always going to be tough on us … but we like to finish in front of them.”

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Sports reporter

Troop currently writes on the men's water polo beat. He has been in the Sports section since fall 2015 and previously covered softball and swimming and diving.

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