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Volume 68, Issue 117, Monday, March 24, 2003

Sports

Pakhalina goes out as best-ever

Senior wins on three-meter to earn 5th national championship

Cougar Sports Services

Her UH career is over, but Yulia Pakhalina couldnit have represented the University better. The senior broke former swimmer Diane Johannigmanis all-time record for most individual national titles when she won the three-meter springboard at the NCAA Diving Championships in Auburn, Ala., on Friday.



Senior diver Yulia Pakhalina closed out her UH career with style Saturday at the NCAA Diving Championships. The senior earned her fifth national championship to break UHis all-time record for individual national titles.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Pakhalina ended her time as a Cougar with five national championships, 32 consecutive wins in the three-meter and 64 wins in 66 events. It was her third consecutive national championship in the event and her second of the meet. She won the national title in the one-meter Friday.

"I was waiting for a great performance like this," UH diving head coach Jane Figueiredo said. "She was really tired, but I told her she had to dig deep for this one. She was just unbelievable."

Pakhalina squeaked past Southern Californiais Blythe Hartley in the preliminaries but then left her in the dust in the finals. She scored 657.30 points to Hartleyis 585.15. The USC diver was Pakhalinais main competition in the preliminaries of the three-meter and the one-meter Thursday. Hartley came in second at the prelims Thursday but slipped to third in the finals.

"Words canit even describe (Pakhalina)," Figueiredo said. "She has really helped elevate the University to a new level, and I am so happy to have worked with her."

Redshirt freshman Azul Almazan accompanied Pakhalina to the NCAAs, finishing 16th in the preliminaries of the three-meter and 18th in the platform diving preliminaries. As a team, the Cougars finished in 20th place out of 40 teams. Figueiredo was named NCAA Diving Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three seasons.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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