Strong showing for UM divers at NCAA championships

The hard work put in by the University of Miami divers during rigorous practices paid off as Heather Bounds, Melanie Rinaldi and Derek Starks all performed to perfection at the NCAA Championships in Georgia, taking home few more awards and recognitions to add to their already stacked trophy cases.

The competition for both the men and women took place on separate dates and venues, but included the same events. The three-day event featured the 1-meter springboard on day one, the 3-meter springboard on day two and the 10-meter platform on the final day.

Bounds, a junior from Austin, Texas, won gold earlier in the year in the 10-meter platform at the ACC Championships, while Rinaldi, a senior from Montreal, Canada, earned gold in the 1-meter springboard and silver in the 3-meter springboard. Bounds competed in all three events at the NCAA Championships, finishing 10th in the 10-meter platform and 12th in the 3-meter springboard, giving her Honorable Mention All-America honors for both events.

After the 3-meter springboard event on the second day of competition, diving Head Coach Randy Ableman said Bounds had a career performance at the nationals after she also finished 17th on the 1-meter platform.

Bounds said she agreed with Ableman’s assessment but would have preferred a better output in the 1-meter event.

“I was happy with my overall performance. It was a good feeling,” she said. “I was also a little disappointed, though, as I wanted to finish with All-American honors.”

As for Rinaldi, she had her share of glory on the diving board, finishing 14th in the 3-meter springboard event and 16th in the 1-meter springboard, earning her Honorable Mention All-America honors for each event.

“Melanie did a solid job,” Ableman said. “I’m proud of both of them especially of the fact that they were named All-America.”

On the men’s side, the competition took place at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center from March 23 to 25. The men’s event featured Starks, a junior from Mission Viejo, California. Starks is the reigning ACC Champion on the 1-meter and 10-meter platforms and a two-time All-American on the 10-meter platform.

Starks finished the first day of competition at the NCAA Championships with a fourth place performance in the 1-meter springboard, as he tallied another All-American honor.

In all, Miami divers racked up recognition in four out of six events, including Starks’s All-America.

Pravin Pavel can be contacted at