Arizona rising senior and NCAA Champion diver Samantha Pickens will open competition at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain at Piscina Municipal de Montjuic on Saturday. Pickens will compete in the 1-meter springboard and 3-meter synchronized diving events.
Pickens will open up the competition on Saturday with partner Amanda Burke in the 3m synchronized competition. They will be one of 21 teams in the event and the only American team. The preliminaries and finals will both be contested on Saturday.
She will continue the World Championships on Sunday with the preliminary round of the 1m springboard event, where she will be one of 40 divers competing for a chance to advance to Tuesday's final.
Pickens qualified for the FINA World Championships after winning the 1-meter springboard at the USA Diving World Championship Trials in May in Tallahassee, Fla. She finished with 537 points to win the 1m competition, edging Team USA member Deidre Freeman, who finished second with 532.90 points. Pickens outlasted 20 total competitors and eight finalists in the event. Pickens and Burke totaled 599.55 to qualify as the women's synchro team.
USA Diving's contingent arrived in Spain on July 11 and spent a number of days training in Mallorca. They arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday to begin preparations for the World Championships.
In addition to her already outstanding summer, Pickens became the first Arizona female to win a national title in diving as she took home the 1m championship at the NCAAs in Indianapolis. Pickens was impressive in prelims as she was the top seed and then continued the momentum in the finals with several impressive dives. She scored 348.45 in the finals to win the 1m competition.
Opening ceremonies will take place tonight in Barcelona. Universal Sports will have coverage of the diving finals each night beginning at 7 p.m. ET via tape delay. In addition, UniversalSports.com will stream all events live in addition to posting daily video highlights and news from Barcelona. A complete online schedule can be found at universalsports.com/swimming.
The Wildcats will have Kevin Cordes, Kevin Steel, Matt Grevers and Christine Magnuson competing in the swimming competition beginning on July 28. U of A head coach Eric Hansen will serve on Team USA's men's swimming coaching staff.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat swimming and diving, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSwimming.
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