Tennessee Lady Vol senior Jodie McGroarty has learned that consistency is the key to being successful in collegiate diving.
"If you stay pretty consistent, you don't have to do anything crazy to stay up there with the best of them," she said.
She has definitely found this to be true this week, as some steady diving helped her finish first on Thursday in the women's 3-meter springboard and second Friday in the 1-meter during the Tennessee Diving Invitational.
"Today, I didn't know if I was going to do as well," she said after Friday's competition at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, where she earned 295.30 points. "But I was pretty happy with that."
While consistency has been a key for McGroarty in diving, her emotions have been all over the place lately as her collegiate — and possibly competitive — diving career comes to an end in a few weeks.
"It's a combination of so many emotions, but none of them are bad," she said. "It just comes at a very reflective period of my life anyway and it's just so much fun to be finishing up your career in a place where there's so much support, there's so much intensity and so much positivity. So I'm just enjoying every minute of it."
McGroarty, who came to UT from Sheffield, England, and hopes to stay in the United States and work after finishing up a master's degree in communications, has not had to strain her mind much lately to recall her arrival as a freshman five years ago.
The reason is that she sees a lot of herself in freshman Lady Vol diver Samantha Lera, whom McGroarty has tried to mentor this season.
"She makes it very easy to encourage her and to push her because she does the same thing to me," she said. "I'm so grateful I've had at least a year with her."
Lera, from Houston, scored 293.25 points in the 1-meter to finish one place behind McGroarty, pleasing UT diving coach Dave Parrington.
"Jodie has had a fantastic couple of days of diving," he said. "And Samantha Lera, this has been a great couple of days so far for her."
Tori Lamp (282.80) finished fifth in the 1-meter behind winner Loren Figueroa of Missouri (301.25), while Vol Brent Sterling (370.00) finished fourth in the men's 3-meter.
Coming in just ahead of Sterling in third place and behind winner Greg Ferrucci of Kentucky (410.85) was Duke's Nick McCrory (370.70), who won a bronze in the 10-meter platform synchronized diving with David Boudia in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
McCrory said Friday he has enjoyed cherishing his Olympic accomplishment, but said his life has not changed much.
"I just went there and had a good time and did my best," he said. "And it's been great since I've been back. I'm enjoying everything and getting back in school."