WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Six Purdue divers - four men and two women - strive to advance to the NCAA Championships later this month by qualifying at this weekend's Zone C Diving Championships, hosted by Indiana University.
Action is set for Thursday through Saturday at IU's Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. The women's 1-meter and men's 3-meter competitions are scheduled for Thursday and vice versa on Friday. Both genders will compete from the platform towers Saturday. Action begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.
All six Purdue divers set to compete this weekend scored team points for Purdue at the Big Ten Championships. Back and Bissett scored from all three boards for the men. Miskulin's third-place finish in the championship final of the women's platform was the top individual showing. Bissett won the consolation final of the men's 1-meter and also qualified for the championship final of the platform.
Back, Bissett, Miskulin and Tweardy competed for the Boilers in the Jan. 21 Indiana-Purdue dual meet at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
Unlike their swimmer counterparts, the divers have to perform well this weekend to qualify for the NCAA Championships. No other scores or results from regular-season competition are considered.
There are five Zone meets around the country. Each Zone is allotted seven NCAA qualifying spots for the men and women. Zone C is expected to feature a large number of divers from the Big Ten Conference teams but competitors from the Big East, Horizon League, Mid-American, Missouri Valley and Summit League schools will also be in attendance.
Buffalo (Zone A), Auburn (Zone B), Iowa (Zone D) and Air Force (Zone E) are also hosting Zone meets this week.
Once a competitor qualifies for the NCAA Championships in any of the three diving events, he or she is permitted to compete on all three boards at NCAAs. However, they must continue to compete in every event at their Zone meet even if they qualify for NCAAs on the first day.
If a competitor wins multiple events at his or her Zone meet, he or she will not account for more than one of the seven qualifying slots allotted to his or her gender. With this in mind, coaches often times adjust the dive lists of their competitors who have already qualified to enhance their teammates' chances.
"Since our sport isn't based on times like swimming, it's a one shot deal; this is the NCAA qualifier," Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati said. "You've got to put it all together in this meet. But this happens a lot in our sport, so we're used to one-time qualifiers."
Five Purdue divers -- three men and two women -- qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships. However, all five closed out their collegiate careers last season.
The women's NCAA Championships are set for March 15-17 in Auburn, Ala., leading to a short travel turnaround for the divers that qualify. The men's NCAA Championships are scheduled for March 22-24 in Federal Way, Wash.