In the moment before the first dive, silence hit. Cameras were rolling as the first diver, Arizona State sophomore Hunter Atha, took to the board in Round One of the men’s 1-meter final.
Cheers erupt as the first Texas diver, senior Corey Bowersox, climbed his way on the board for a two-and-a-half somersault tuck. Everyone’s eyes turned to the judges for the score — 71.40 points, the highest so far.
Junior Mark Anderson’s one-and-a-half somersault, two-and-a-half turns got the real roar from the spectators. Anderson nailed the dive and earned 73.50 points.
Tension mounted in the sixth and final round. These dives capped the athletes’ final scores.
The cameras followed each diver closely, but seemed to have no effect on Bowersox.
“[I] really just try to forget about everything that’s going on, keep confident in myself … get rid of any doubts,” Bowersox said.
Bowersox finished the event in second place with 404.30 points. Junior Sean O’Brien took third with 392.10 points and Anderson came in fourth with 355.05 points. Miami (Fla.) sophomore Briadam Herrera took gold with 436 points.
The women competed in the 3-meter event and two Longhorns finished in the top eight. Freshman Sofia Rauzi led Texas with a score of 321.55 for sixth place. Her second dive — an inward, two-and-a-half somersault tuck — scored a meet-high 60.75 points. Senior Meghan Houston placed eighth with a score of 306.95.
Diving coach Matt Scoggin said before the meet that the Texas Diving Invitational serves as a dress rehearsal for postseason competition. Many divers are already looking ahead.
“We’ve got a great time, so we’ve got a really good chance of doing some good stuff in March,” said Bowersox, “That’s really my primary focus — prepare for [NCAA’s] and be the best I can be for that.”
Texas begins Day 2 competition Friday at 10:30 a.m. with the women’s 1-meter prelims. The men’s 3-meter prelims start at 1:30 p.m.