BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA – On Saturday, March 16, freshman diver Rachel Speakman (Hudson, OH) represented the Brown women's swimming and diving team at the 2013 NCAA Division I Zone A Diving Meet. After earning a qualifying standard in the 1-meter event during the regular season, Speakman advanced to the post-season, where she competed against some of the best divers in the region in the hopes of qualifying for the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
Speakman turned in a stellar performance at the Christianburg Aquatic Center on the campus of Virginia Tech, compiling a score of 226.30 in prelims and qualifying for finals. She produced another impressive round of dives in the evening session, earning a combined score of 454.80 to place 16th overall.
"Rachel showed that she can compete with the best divers in the Northeast," said head diving coach Channing Kimball. "She really enjoyed herself and just let herself be immersed in the fun and excitement of the sport of diving. She has had a few setbacks this season because of a back injury, but you never would have known it on Saturday. She competed like a pro, and she is already looking forward to next season."
Speakman acknowledged the challenges that come with competing as an injured athlete, but also admitted that, "All that completely escaped my mind as I realized how fortunate I was to be on deck with Olympic Trial qualifiers, let alone competing with them. It was such a great feeling not only knowing that I had fellow Bears rooting for me, but also coaches from other schools. It also pushed me further, knowing that every girl on deck was one to watch out for."
In only her first season with the Bears, Speakman is already turning in some of the best performances in Brown diving history. Her highest score from this season, a point total of 275.62, ranks her second on the Bears' list of top five performers, and the freshman knows that her best is still yet to come.
"Knowing that I was representing Brown gave me an additional push," she said, "because unlike in USA meets, I was no longer competing for myself or for my coach, but for a whole population of athletes and students. Coming out of a tough meet with great competition gives me that drive to push even harder next year!"