UM Diver Wins Second National Title

Brittany Viola concluded a storied UM diving career by capturing her second national title on the 10-meter platform.

Coral Gables (March 23, 2011) — Senior Brittany Viola concluded one of the most historic diving careers in University of Miami history last Saturday night, claiming her second NCAA National Championship on the 10-meter platform with a finals score of 354.25 on the last day of the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, held at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

On Saturday night Viola stepped onto the 10-meter platform for her final collegiate event as a Hurricanes diver. Leading after the preliminary round of diving, Viola and teammate Carrie Dragland each eyed the title heading into the finals.

Viola began her final five dives with the highest-scoring dive of the finals for any competitor, earning a judges’ score of 81.00 after landing a near-perfect forward 3½-somersault pike to set the tone for the entire round. Another score of 80 came on her third dive—an armstand back 2 somersault 1½ twist free, moving her back into first place. It was a lead she would never relinquish.

“I am ecstatic to have won another NCAA Championship title,” said Viola. “Being able to compete at the NCAAs was a gift in itself after sitting out with two foot surgeries over the course of the last year and a half. I could not have hoped to have my collegiate diving career wrap up any differently. I am overjoyed.”

Viola earned the 2008 NCAA National Championship in the same event. Earlier this year, she claimed the USA Winter National Championships title in the 10-meter event as well. Viola is just the second female to claim a national title—aside from her 2008 award—since Jenny Keim in 2000.

Teammate Carrie Dragland finished third in the finals, turning in a score of 326.10. She vaulted from fifth place to third on her final two dives.

For veteran Miami diving head coach Randy Ableman, Viola becomes the third national title winner, along with Reuben Ross in 2008, in the last five years. Additionally, Viola and Dragland joined the ever-growing All-America list of performers, giving the UM diving program 42 All-America accolades in the last ten years.

In the pool, senior Annika Saarnak competed in her final event as a Miami Hurricane, turning in a time of 50.80 in the 100-freestyle. Saarnak was the first Hurricanes swimmer to compete in the NCAA championships in almost ten years.

As a team, the University of Miami finished 16th overall with 67 points. The 16th-place finish came in a participating field of 41 in this year’s annual event. The finish was also the highest for the women since the 2001-02 season, when Miami finished 15th overall.

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Brittany Viola closed her UM career in grand style, claiming her second national championship in the 10-meter platform competition.

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