Ute trio to compete at NCAA championships

By By Tony Pizza

By Tony Pizza

Last Thursday, Kelsey Patterson clinched a second straight trip to the NCAA championships with a sixth-place finish in the 1-meter diving event at the Zone E Regional Qualifier; she finished with a score of 564.05.

The Ute senior and reigning Mountain West Conference Diver of the Year also went to the finals of the 3-meter diving event before eventually finishing in 12th place overall.

Patterson’s teammates Damien Brown and Andrew Jones were also trying to qualify their way into the NCAA championships, but neither swimmer could qualify for the regional final in the 1-meter event. Jones could not capitalize on his final appearance in the 3-meter event as he finished in 16th place overall.

Patterson will join senior swimmers Amber Walter and Alison McInturff as the three Ute representatives at the NCAAs this year.

Walter, who added to her hardware at the MWC championships with Swimmer of the Meet honors, will be competing in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. She also earned a chance to compete in the 100-yard breast event by swimming a provisional qualifying time of 1:02.54.

McInturff will be representing Utah in the 200-yard freestyle event, and she also earned the chance to compete in the 200-yard individual medley when she qualified with a time of 2:03.93 at the MWC championships — which also set a new school record.

This will be McInturff’s first time at the NCAAs — Walter and Patterson are both returning for the second time in their collegiate careers.

Last year, Walter finished 36th in the 50 free, 22nd in the 100 free and competed, but did not place, in the 100 breast. Patterson competed in all three diving events last year, finishing 30th and 21st in the 1-meter and platform dives, respectively, while finishing 18th in the 3-meter event.

The NCAA Championships are being held in Minneapolis, Minn., and will kick off Thursday morning and wrap up Saturday night.

Kim Peterson

Kelsey Patterson prepares for a dive against Wyoming on Jan. 26 in the U Natatorium. Patterson will be going to the NCAA championships with two other Utah women’s swimmers.