AUSTIN, Texas – Duke University senior diver Nick McCrory capped off his collegiate career for the Blue Devils in thrilling fashion, becoming the first athlete to win four NCAA titles in platform diving. McCrory scored 94.50 points on his final dive as he rallied to take home his fourth championship trophy at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championship, held at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
“I’m just really proud for my school,” McCrory said. “They’ve done so much to support me and get me here and keep me going. I’m really happy to be representing Duke.”
After scoring a season-high 480.35 points to pace the field in the preliminary round, McCrory grabbed an early lead in the finals competition after two dives. The Chapel Hill, N.C., native struggled on his next two dives, dropping to as low as fifth place before making the thrilling comeback.
Sitting in fifth place after four dives, McCrory scored a solid 76.50 on a back two-and-a-half somersault to inch up one spot to fourth with one dive remaining. His competition remained within sight as he stepped onto the platform needing 92.95 on his final and most difficult dive to take home the title in what would be heart-stopping fashion.
McCrory didn’t miss a beat as he executed his back two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists in the pike position for a 3.6 degree of difficulty almost perfectly. Scoring many 9.0 scores and even a 10, McCrory made history with his 94.5 points on the final dive to beat Arizona’s Rafael Quintero by 2.45 points.
“It had been an interesting contest from the start but that last dive is one of my favorites,” McCrory said. “I’ve been doing it for like six years now and I’m really comfortable with it. But going into it, I was up there doing the math in my head of what I needed to score to win. To be honest I didn't think I got it when I hit the water. I was surprised by the scoreboard. I saw my dive and I guess it was better than I thought.”
A 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in synchronized diving, McCrory is an 11-time All-American at Duke after also taking third on the 1-meter board earlier this week.
McCrory was joined on the final day in Austin by teammate Hunter Knight, who placed 37th in the 200-yard breaststroke trials with a time of 1:57.90. Knight rounded out a standout collegiate career as one of the Blue Devils’ top performers in the breaststroke events, also competing in the 100 breaststroke preliminaries Friday in his first NCAA Championship appearance.
The Duke men finished 21st out of 48 teams and fourth among the nine represented ACC squads in the final standings with a total of 36 points. California captured the NCAA team title with a score of 468.5, while Texas finished second (417.5), Florida third (387), Michigan fourth (310) and Georgia fifth (259).