CRWC to Welcome America's Best Divers

Jan. 28, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa diving coach Bob Rydze has been waiting for this moment in his coaching career for longer than he can remember.

America’s best divers will converge onto the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center this weekend, where they will compete from Jan. 30-Feb. 6 at the 2011 USA Diving Winter National Championships. The road to London 2012 starts in Iowa City, as it is the first opportunity for divers to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

“It is very exciting to be hosting this event,” said Rydze, who is in his 36th season as the diving coach for the Hawkeyes. “We are going to be showcasing the facility, our divers, the community and the University of Iowa. It means a lot, and I’ve waited a long time for this.

“Being chairman of the board of USA Diving and having the organization hold the indoor national championships here is very gratifying. It is very exciting for me to showcase this University, as I’ve talked about the University of Iowa to a great deal of people… this will be a great, great thing.”

The Winter Nationals mark the first major diving event to be held in the new CRWC, and it is the first time that USA Diving will hold its national championships at the University of Iowa. The last major diving championship to be held within the state came in 1939.

Nine members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Diving Team are expected to compete for national titles in the 1-meter springboard, 3-meter springboard, 10-meter platform, synchronized 3-meter springboard, and synchronized 10-meter platform events.

Three of Rydze’s Hawkeye divers — Deidre Freeman, Veronica Rydze and Arsen Sarkisian — will compete in the Winter Nationals. Freeman and Veronica Rydze — Bob’s daughter — are no strangers to the national championships, as the pair finished fourth at the outdoor championships in the synchronized 3-meter event in August.

“Veronica and Deidre have been synchro parters and they “finaled” at the outdoor nationals,” said Rydze, who was an assistant diving coach for the USA Diving Team in the 2008 Olympics. “It will be very exciting for them to dive in their home pool… hopefully they’ll do well.”

Sarkisian, a freshman from Skokie, Ill., will be making his national diving debut this week.

“It gets him some exposure to very elite diving and that will help him in the future,” said Rydze. “He’s going to be a very good diver; he’s just a young pup now.”

Rydze is excited to not only showcase the new, state-of-the-art $69 million aquatics and recreation complex, but he’s looking forward to introducing Iowa City to the diving community.

USA Diving is expecting a large crowd at the Championship, as there have been record advance ticket sales. Tickets are available at and on site at the CRWC.

“The CEO of USA Diving informed me of the record advance ticket sales on Tuesday morning,” said Rydze. “That’s very exciting; it shows there is interest here. If we put on a good show, we’ll probably get the chance to have the meet back here sometime in the future.”