Following his final event of the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships on Wednesday, Tennessee senior Jordan Mauney climbed on top of the 10-meter platform deck with his family as a farewell ritual typical in diving.
He was way up in the air physically at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, but not emotionally. His 257.20 points over six dives in the preliminaries of the 10-meter platform an hour or so earlier put him in 15th place and kept him out of the finals.
However, although he had missed out on his last chance to qualify for the NCAA championships and go to Indianapolis later this month with his teammates, he was still thankful for the cities far and wide he was able to visit through the sport.
“Diving has taken me to places I’ve never been before and to people I never thought I would meet,” he said. “It’s given me a lot.”
The former state high school meet record holder from Chattanooga Baylor also has traveled far vertically with his diving after focusing more on springboard on the junior level, he added.
“I never thought I would be doing the dives I did here,” he said. “To end my career here, with a full 10-meter list, I credit everything to Coach (Dave) Parrington. I couldn’t be more thankful for my last four years here.”
Parrington, in turn, is thankful for Mauney’s contributions, even though he was disappointed the May 2013 accounting graduate did not advance to the NCAAs along with fellow Tennessee divers Tori Lamp, Jodie McGroarty and Brent Sterling.
“He’s never made the NCAA championships, but he’s been a good scorer for us on the SEC level,” he said. “He’s given us everything he’s got.”
Also missing out on Wednesday on her last chance to qualify for the NCAAs, although barely, was freshman Samantha Lera. She finished fourth with 517.95 points over 10 dives in the 10-meter platform, but needed to finish third to advance.
“She came up a little short, but she did a great job all week,” Parrington said.
Definitely not coming up short was 2012 Olympic synchronized platform bronze medalist Nick McCrory of Duke. With seven 10s on his next-to-last dive, he put on quite a show in the platform in scoring 947.00 points and finishing nearly 250 points ahead of runner-up Michael Lewark of Florida State (697.60).
“That is the ultimate compliment to a diver for seven judges who have divers in competition trying to get to the NCAAs to still throw out seven 10s,” said Parrington.