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Wednesday March 7, 2012Lewark Becomes First Male Diver in Six Years to Earn a Trip to NCAAs

Auburn, Ala.

Sophomore Mike Lewark (Davie, Fla.) made quite an impression this afternoon at the NCAA Zone B Diving Regional competition when he finished third off the platform with a combined score of 702.50 after the preliminary and final rounds at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center in Auburn, Ala.

Head diving Coach Donnie Craine put it both simply, and best - “we’re going to Seattle for NCAA’s, and it’s going to be awesome.”

Lewark becomes the first male diver in six years – the last UF diver to appear at nationals was Jonathan Wilcox in 2006 – to advance to the NCAA Championships for the Orange and Blue, and looks to make another point in two weeks as he has finished strong in his last two meets. The sophomore earned the first SEC, podium finish of his career when he had a career, 362.65 score off the platform for a bronze medal at the SEC Championships, and again, today at the Zone B Regional showing.

“It was just, great,” remarked Craine. “After the first six dives Mike was in third, and we knew that if Mauricio Robles Rodrigruez of Tennessee and John Santieu of Auburn were ahead of him which, they were, the No. 3 finisher was getting the ticket. From that point on we knew that we just had to stay there in that spot.”

Craine added “We got some pressure from FSU’s Michael Neubacher and Alabama’s Jordan Lesser heading into the last round, but we managed to pull away and finish third.

Teammate Chris Jones (Palm City, Fla.) Finished 14th off the platform with a score of 290.80.

Senior Kaylee Doback (Brandon, Fla.) just missed her opportunity to move on to the platform finals when she collected a 220.30 score from her five dives off the platform.

The Gators will conclude the 2011-12 season of the next two weeks. The women’s team will travel to familiar grounds, Auburn, Ala., for the NCAA Championships March 15-17, while Lewark and the men’s squad will make their way cross-country to Seattle, Wash., for the NCAA championship meet, which will take place March 22-24.

NCAA Zone B Qualifiers – Men:
1. Mauricio Robles, Tennessee
2. Samuel Dorman, Miami
3. Thomas Neubacher, Florida State
4. John Santeiu, Auburn
5. Ryan Helms, Tennessee
6. David MacDonald, North Carolina
7. Brent Sterling, Tennessee
8. Michael Lewark, Florida

NCAA Zone B Qualifiers – Women:
1. Vennie Dantin, Auburn
2. Courtney Forcucci, South Carolina
3. Tori Lamp, Tennessee
4. Anna Aguero, Auburn
5. Thea Vock, Miami
6.  Kara McCormack, Miami
7. Ariel Rittenhouse, FSU
8. Jodie McGroarty, Tennessee
9. Hannah Hopkins, NC State
10. Katrina Young, FSU

For all the latest up-to-date information about the Florida swimming and diving team, make sure to follow the team on Twitter at @GatorZoneSwimDv, and like the Gators swimming and diving team on Facebook.

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