Feb. 7, 2011
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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 — Sellouts. Check. Atmosphere. Check. Top-notch diving. Check.
The 2011 USA Diving Winter Championships concluded Sunday with coaches and student-athletes praising the atmosphere and facility at the University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
The Championship, which ran from Jan. 30 through Feb. 6, featured a sellout during Saturday’s session during the finals of the men’s 3-meter, women’s platform and men’s 3-meter synchronized events.
Mary Beth Dunnichay, who along with Katie Bell won the women’s synchronized 10-meter title on Sunday, was one of many who had nothing but good things to say about the championship in Iowa City.
“This facility is amazing, it is definitely top-notch,” said Dunnichay, who was a member of the USA Diving team at the 2008 Olympics. “I would say it is one of the nicest in the country, maybe even the world.
“On top of that, the people here have been really great. The meet ran smoothly, and I am totally impressed.”
Randy Ableman, the head diving coach at the University of Miami the last 22 years, is another individual that leaves the Championship truly impressed with the CRWC. Ableman brings a different perspective to the equation, as he was a four-time All-American at Iowa.
“I used to come down here (to Iowa City) when I was in high school and train as a part of Bob Rydze’s club program,” said Ableman, a 2005 inductee to the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. “We were in the Field House before it was even renovated and the old pool was less than 10 foot deep.
“They renovated it (Field House), made it deeper and put up a platform, but it was still very, very dated. When they recruited me out of Cedar Rapids Washington High School, they promised me they were going to build a new pool here, and it may be done by the time I graduate.
“That was 34 years ago, but I am so happy to finally see where they built it (CRWC), right here, in a great location. I think it’s the best indoor pool in the country.”
If the 2011 Winter Championships and Saturday’s competition in particular is any indication, diving may make a return trip to Iowa City in the not so distant future.
“The meets have been so well attended and diving usually doesn’t get that much of a turnout,” said Ableman, the 1981 NCAA Champion in the 1-meter springboard and still the Iowa record holder in the 3-meter springboard. “It’s cool to see how the people of Iowa support all sports.
“It’s been a great thing for the whole diving community to come here, and I’m sure there are going to be other big meets here down the road.”