Erica Deur Captures National Title on One-Meter Diving Board
Friday, March 20, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, MN—A national championship performance by senior Erica Deur propelled the Calvin women’s swimming and diving team into fifth place in the team standings at the NCAA III Swimming and Diving Championships Friday night at the University of Minnesota.
Deur captured a national title on the one-meter board with an NCAA III Championships record point total of 496.05 points. The national title is the second of her career as she also won the national crown on the one-meter board in 2007. Deur (Holland Christian HS) closes out her collegiate career as an eight-time NCAA III All-American - including four All-America berths on the one meter and four berths on the three-meter board. In addition to her two national titles, Deur also finished her career with three national runner-up finishes including a national runner-up finish on Wednesday night on the three-meter board.
Deur was one of two diving All-Americans for Calvin on Friday night as junior teammate Casey Herman (Libertyville, IL) was eighth on the one-meter board with a score of 387.70 points. It marks the first time in Calvin history that two of its divers have earned All-America accolades in the same event.
“It was an historic performance for our divers tonight,” said Calvin head swim coach Dan Gelderloos. “Erica was absolutely on fire tonight and Casey was terrific as well. I also want to recognize senior Jeena Velzen (Unity Christian HS) who competed on the one-meter board tonight. To have three divers competing at a national meet and have two finish as All-Americans and one as a national champion is incredible. Our diving coach Aaron Paskvan deserves a ton of credit. We are so blessed to have him at Calvin College.”
Deur opened the one-meter competition with an NCAA III Championships record point total of 490.85 in the morning preliminaries and then upped her performance in the evening finals, finishing more than 40 points ahead of runner-up Kelly Sponholz of Fredonia State (NY). “Erica pulled out some amazing dives today,” said Gelderloos. “She had a couple of dives where she earned ‘9’s and ‘9.5’s which was a lot of fun to watch. She could not have come up with a better way to end her collegiate career and we are all so proud of her.”
Deur and Herman were part of four All-America performances for Calvin on Friday as the Knights racked up 72 points to build their overall team total to 151 points, placing the Knights in fifth place, 1.5 points ahead of sixth place Amherst. “It was a big moving day for our team” said Gelderloos. “We received big performances from several individuals.”
Four of those individuals were senior Cara VanWoerkom (Calvin Christian HS), junior Laura Price (Warren, PA), sophomore Kendra Kinzer (Fort Wayne, IN) and junior Libby Veldkamp (Calvin Christian HS) in the 800 freestyle relay with the Calvin quartet finishing seventh in a season-best time of 7:36.18. The All-America swim came in the second 800 freestyle relay heat of the day and was the top time of the first two heats. The final (third) heat of the 800 freestyle relay competition took place later Friday night and after its completion, the Knights had finished ahead of two teams from the final heat, giving the Knights a final seventh place finish. “I told the members of the relay that if they could come up with the best time of the morning, they could sit back, relax and watch the final heat in the evening with a chance to be All-Americans,” said Gelderloos. “That’s exactly what happened and I am thrilled for each member of that relay.”
The All-America performance was the first for Kinzer and Veldkamp.
Calvin also received an All-America swim from junior Emily Roberts (DeKalb, IL) and an honorable mention All-America performance from junior Maggie Vail (Portage Northern HS) in the 100 breaststroke with Roberts finishing seventh (1:04.31) and Vail placing 13th (1:05.25). It marks the second time Roberts has earned All-America honors in the event as she placed third in 2007.
In addition, sophomore Monica Bressler (Sandusky, OH) competed in the 100 backstroke prelims on Friday. Bressler did not advance to the evening finals but did set a school record, recording a time of 58.45.