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Volume 68, Issue 112, Monday, March 17, 2003


Cougars earn trip to NCAA Championships

Cougar Sports Services

Senior Yulia Pakhalina seems determined to finish her collegiate career as the best diver in the country, but a freshman is showing the Cougars may dominate the sport long after Pakhalina concludes her stay at UH.

Senior diver Yulia Pakhalina secured a trip to the NCAA Championships by finishing first in both the one- and three-meter events at the Zone D Diving meet in Austin.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Pakhalina dominated the field at the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships in Austin on Sunday, but freshman Azul Almazan wasnit that far off. Senior Veronica Smith also competed and wrapped up her collegiate career with a 17th-place finish in the one-meter event and a 21st-place showing in the three-meter.

Pakhalina was first in the one- and three-meter events. She ended competition Friday with 605.30 points in the one-meter. She bested that mark with 686.00 points in the three-meter on Saturday to win for the 62nd time in 64 events. Sheis also won 31 consecutive three-meter events.

Pakhalina will defend her national title in the three-meter and try to regain her one-meter crown at the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Ala.

But she wonit be alone.

Almazan finished second in the three-meter with 501.25 points and was only the second diver (behind Pakhalina) to score more than 500 points in the event. The second-place showing gave her a ticket to Auburn.

The Mexico City native wrapped up competition Sunday by placing second in the platform diving event with 387.40 points. The finish qualified her for a second event at the NCAAs.

Pakhalina and Almazan were two of just eight divers to qualify in the Zone D Championships. They join a 41-diver field at the national championships.

The two are led by UH head diving coach Jane Figueiredo, who was named NCAA Diving Coach of the Year after Pakhalina swept the one- and three-meter titles. She has been named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2001 and i02.

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