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Samantha Klaasen Captures NCAA III Regional Title on One-Meter Board - Qualifies for Nationals

Friday, March 01, 2013

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After two consecutive years of sitting on the outside of the NCAA III Championships, Calvin senior Samantha Klaasen was determined to make good on her final opportunity to advance to the national meet. Klaasen did just that Friday night and did so with aplomb as she captured the NCAA Division III Central Regional one-meter title Friday night at Calvin’s Venema Aquatic Center with a pool record point total of 496.60 points. Her point total breaks the previous pool record of 452.30 set by Grand Valley State’s Karen VerBrugge in 2010.  The one-meter title gives Klaasen an automatic trip to the NCAA III Championships March 20-23 in Shenendoah, Texas.

Over the past two years, Klaasen has posted NCAA III qualifying scores during the regular season but the scores went through an extensive video process that was reviewed by an NCAA committee. In both prior years, her performance on video were not deemed worthy of earning a spot to the national meet.

On Friday night, the old video system was in the past and Klaasen left the Venema Aquatic Center with smiles.

“I’m so happy to be going to nationals,” said Klaasen. “It feels awesome. It was great to dive at home and have great support from my family and friends.”

Calvin diving coach Aaron Paskvan was also thrilled with Klaasen’s performance. “Sam really rose to the occasion tonight and managed the moment,” said Paskvan. “I’m so happy for her. She has worked so hard over the last four years. She beat an extremely competitive field tonight. There is some great talent here so for Sam to win is a great achievement.”

Klaasen will compete in the three-meter competition on Saturday with competition slated to start at noon. Regardless of how she finishes Saturday, she has booked her ticket to the national meet and will be eligible to be able to compete in both events.

Calvin freshman Sarah Roth was 17th at 340.25.

Action continues on Saturday at noon with three-meter competition.

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