AUBURN, Ala. – Duke rounded out action at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships Wednesday in stellar fashion, bringing the program’s total of divers qualified for the NCAA Championships to six.
The Blue Devils began the day by qualifying all four women’s divers in preliminaries to the platform final. Gaudette totaled 267.80 points during preliminaries and topped the 60-point mark on her second dive in finals en route to taking third in the field (518.80). Willborn joined Gaudette in punching her ticket to Austin, Texas with a top-six finish as well (516.70). The senior from Flower Mound, Texas earned an award of 261.05 in preliminaries and surpassed the 55-point mark twice in finals to place fifth.
Duke also went three-for-three in advancing divers to the platform final on the men’s side. Hernandez received an award of 83.20 on his third dive in finals, an inward 3 ½ somersault, to finish with a combined score of 716.00, good for sixth in the field. Moretti was seventh with a combined award of 700.95 after also topping the 80-point mark on an inward 3 ½ somersault in the fourth round of finals.
Freshman Harel Anolick advanced to his first Zones final, placing 17th (541.05).
Senior Lizzie Fitzpatrick, Gaudette, Pullinger and Willborn join a group of eight women’s swimmers who will represent Duke at the Women’s NCAA Championships March 20-23 in Austin, Texas. Hernandez and Moretti will be joined in Austin March 27-30 by swimmers Max St. George and Miles Williams, who received their NCAA invitations earlier Wednesday.
The six divers headed to the NCAA Championships marks the most in program history.
"Elizabeth Fitzpatrick had a really good day two days ago and I knew that she could qualify," said head diving coach Nunzio Esposto. "She just had to put together two solid lists and that's exactly what she did. Maddi Pullinger ... being a freshman, it's awesome she made it to NCAAs on both boards. Jaina Gaudette repeated last year, qualifying on platform. That was great for her. And Mackenzie Willborn, being a senior, it was great that she qualified on platform today and was in the top 12 on one-meter yesterday. I'm really happy to see so many women qualify. On the men's side, Evan Moretti repeated three events and Nathaniel Hernandez, this is the first year he's qualified on all three events. Very happy for them."
Duke Divers Qualified for NCAAs:
Lizzie Fitzpatrick – 3M
Jaina Gaudette – Platform
Nathaniel Hernandez – 1M, 3M, Platform
Evan Moretti – 1M, 3M, Platform
Maddi Pullinger – 1M, 3M
Mackenzie Willborn – 1M, Platform