Gators dive into success in Georgia

The Florida Gators wrapped up the three-day Georgia Diving Invitational and Shootout at the Gabrielsen Natatorium on Thursday to start the 2012 portion of the season.

“We started out the first day and saw some strong performances from our divers. Our lone female senior, Kaylee Doback, did really well for us, not just on Tuesday when we started, but throughout the whole meet,” head diving coach Donnie Craine said.

Doback placed fifth in the three-meter and platform championships with scores of 287.05 and 228.40, respectively. Doback also had a ninth-place finish the one-meter championships with 247.95 points. Teammate Danielle Risley placed 11th in platform diving (216.25) and 17th in the one-meter dive (216.85) and 23rd for the three-meter event (192.95).

For the University of Florida men, Mike Lewark was on top with a ninth-place finish in the one-meter dive with 297.95 points. Lewark came in 18th for the three-meter dive and 13th on the platform. Sophomore Chris Jones appeared in the one-meter finals and came in 15th. Jones placed 21st in the three-meter competition (268.60) and finished ninth in the platform as UF’s highest finisher in the event with a score of 309.20.

Junior Sean Saley came in 24th for the platform dive with a 176.35 mark. Senior David Springfels came in 28th for the one-meter dive with 220.45 points and 26th in the three-meter event with a score of 238.40. 

“Doback, Lewark and Jones really shone for us, making the finals in one or more events,” Craine said. “We struggled a little bit, but with each day we saw improvements and continued to get better.”

“Now, we see where we’re at and what we have to do to prepare and go into the SEC Championships.”

The Gators will hit the pool again when they host Florida Atlantic and Indian River State College (Gainesville, Fla.) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Natatorium on at 1 p.m. at Jan. 14.

Gator Country reporter Sara Ladwig can be reached at