Second place 'OK' for Tennessee's Tori Lamp

With an SEC championship last year in the 10-meter platform, University of Tennessee diver Tori Lamp has done well in the middle part of her collegiate career after a slow start.

But the middle part of the redshirt junior's 5-dive list Saturday in the same event in the Tennessee Diving Invitational proved to be a little challenging after a good start.

However, after receiving only 24 points on her third dive, she rebounded with 71.05 and 80 points on her last two dives to finish second during the third and final day of competition at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.

Her 288 total points put her just behind University of Georgia and former Indiana University diver Laura Ryan's 312.35.

Second place sometimes brings mixed feelings, and that was also how Lamp felt about her overall performance in her five dives.

"I was pleased in some cases and not in others," she said. "My first dive went well. It's still my new dive and it's my second time competing in it.

"And my inwards (dive, her third one) was really bad. But I finished up with two really strong dives. That's why I was able to get back in the mix and finish second. Overall it was OK. It was really just the third dive."

Her first dive — a back arm stand double with a 2½ twist — had a 3.6-degree of difficulty and is the hardest dive she has ever attempted, she said. She is doing it so that she can start competing more successfully on bigger stages.

"I'm trying to build up my difficulty so I can compete with the rest of the world," said Lamp, whose lifetime resumè also includes accomplishments in gymnastics, track and field, and playing the piano. "If I hit these dives, it can help me in bigger meets."

When Lamp arrived at Tennessee from Bearden High School in 2009, an illness and injury made her degree of difficulty in trying to be a solid contributor to the team greater than she initially expected.

However, she rebounded during her sophomore year last year and hopes to have a solid season this year when she becomes more comfortable with the harder dives, she added.

Also in the women's 10-meter, Lady Vol freshman Samantha Lera finished fifth with 242.30 points.

In the men's platform competition Saturday, Tennessee senior Brent Sterling finished ninth with 304.35 points over six dives. Winning was John Santeiu of Auburn (385.80).

John Shearer is a freelance contributor.

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