FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Darton State College sophomores Crawford Berry and Sarah Hoop will defend national titles while Darton’s swimmers reach for record times as the Cavs enter the 2014 men’s and women’s NJCAA national championships today.
The Cavs dominated the 2013 diving events. Berry swept the 1- and 3-meter dives and Hoop took a gold medal in the women’s 3-meter competition. Diver Kelsey Carniglia, also diving this week, took a silver medal in the 1-meter dive.
Berry and Hoop agreed there is more pressure in defending a gold medal than challenging for one.
“There is the pressure of defending my titles, not letting my team down and showing everyone that I can do it twice,” Berry said. “I’d say there’s more pressure on me (than last year).
“But when I get up on the board … I let my training take over, my muscle memory take over. That’s how I take on every meet. Just one dive at a time.”
The divers will enter the prelims at 1 p.m. today, and the competitions continue through Saturday for the 16 teams that have entered the meet.
On the pool deck, Darton has a good chance of setting new school records in the men’s 800 freestyle relay, the 500 freestyle, and the 400 IM. Sophomore JD Rosseau has the NJCAA’s No. 3 time in the 1000 free and hopes to beat his current best of 9:54.13.
“He should be well on his way,” Darton head swimming coach Will Breehl said. “He’s looking good. All of our guys really are feeling pretty good. I think we rested pretty well.”
Hoop agreed, saying “I feel pretty good. There is some really good competition this year, so there’s more pressure on me, but at this point, I’ve trained really hard. Whatever happens, happens. If I have a good meet, that’s really all that matters.”