As the UCLA diving team travels across town to the Uytengsu Aquatics Center at USC on Friday, the athletic rivalry between the two schools will be insignificant in their minds.
“Well, there’s always a little bit (of rivalry), but I don’t think we really look at it in those terms,” diving coach Tom Stebbins said. “For us, we’re in the middle of trying to test and evaluate the things we’ve tried to put in all fall, and see how far along we’ve come.”
The Trojan Diving Invitational will take place over three days and UCLA will compete against eight other schools including the host squad. No. 21 UCLA defeated No. 22 Arizona and Arizona State this past weekend and views this invitational as a valuable learning opportunity.
“I get to see how (the divers) manage themselves, I get to see what things they’re good at, what things they’re not good at, so we can redevelop our practice plans,” Stebbins said.
UCLA will send divers sophomore Eloise Belanger and senior Annika Lenz, who finished first and in the top three respectively in the 1-meter and 3-meter events against the Arizona Schools.
Both divers are looking forward to compete at this invitational.
“It’s a good gauge point to see how we’re doing,” Lenz said. “Staying positive, and looking how I can fix the small details, because that makes the big difference at the end, and just keep moving forward and do the best I can.”
Belanger, the 2016 Pac-12 Diving Freshman of the Year, on the other hand, hopes to improve on her newly added dives.
“I have some new dives that I did last weekend, and next weekend, it’s going to be doing it as good as I can, and seeing where I’m at,” Belanger said.