AUSTIN, Texas – Duke diver Abby Johnston closed her 2010-11 season of competition by capturing the national title on the three-meter springboard Friday night at the Women's NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.
"To get this championship has been on my goal list for the past three years,” said Johnston. “I’m glad it finally came true. It’s been bugging me because I wanted it so badly. I knew I had the potential, and it all came together so that’s really exciting.”
It is the first women's individual title for swimming and diving and the 15th individual national championship in Duke history.
The Upper Arlington, Ohio native, prelimed fifth with a score of 338.45, but was able to edge out her competition with a series of perfectly executed dives in the finals. As the only diver to break 400 on the three-meter, Johnston clinched the national title with a final score of 409.35.
"She led wire to wire in the finals,” said diving coach Drew Johansen. “She didn’t look back. The diver from Minnesota gave her a fight, but Abby never opened the door to let her catch back up. It was certainly the best performance of her life.”
Johnston ended up winning the championship by nearly 14 points in front of second-place diver Kelci Bryant from Minnesota. Bryant led the divers in preliminaries with a score of 391.70, but Johnston did not let her fifth pace sitting hinder her. In a series of six final dives, she opened with her best, and highest points awarded dive. In the final dive of the night, Johnston was only in the lead by nine points, and executed an immaculate and clean entry to hold off her competition.
As the only student-athlete representing Duke on Friday, The All-America diver scored 20 points for the program and lifted it to a 19th place standing going into the final day of competition.
Duke will close out the NCAA Championships tomorrow with two of their best athletes. Senior distance swimmer Ashley Twichell will compete in the 1650 free, in which she currently sits fourth-seeded, and freshman diver Haley Ishimatsu will take on the platform diving event.
Championship information and meet results can be found at the following site: