There are five regions in the country for NCAA Division I Diving Zones. Ball State is in Zone C, the Midwest zone, which includes the states of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky.
For the third straight season, junior Rachel Bertram has obtained an NCAA Diving Zone C Championship qualifying point total of 290.48 in the three-meter diving event for Ball State Women’s Diving. Bertram is the first Cardinal this season to obtain this qualification.
To qualify for a Zone Championship, a diver must score a combination of points from any given list of dives in any competition. Each dive is scored and then multiplied by a diver’s degree of difficulty. That score is then added to the total from that meet. For qualification, this total score must be more than 260 points in the one-meter event or 280 in the three-meter event. A diver would only have to accomplish this one time in a season.
For the Cardinals, Bertram qualified for Zone C, the Midwest zone, at the first dual meet against Bowling Green on the three-meter dive and said she knew she could obtain the appropriate score.
“I felt relieved,” Bertram said. “Now that I qualified twice, it is an expectation.”
In Bertram's first year at the championship, she finished in 32nd place in the three-meter dive and 34th in the one-meter. At that meet, Bertram said she felt overwhelmed.
“Just because there’s Olympians that are competing too,” Bertram said. “It was stressful, but it was a really good experience.”
Last season, Bertram finished 19th in the three-meter event and 33rd in the one-meter. Bertram said she went into Zones really nervous.
“I really wanted to make the NCAA cut and place at Zones,” Bertram said. “This year, I want to go into the meet relaxed and not as stressed. I always compete better when I’m less stressed.”
One aspect of her training this season that diving coach Nick Gayes has focused on is being more consistent. Over the past three years, Gayes said consistency has been Bertram’s biggest growth.
“This year, she has been much more consistent, hitting that standard regularly,” Gayes said. “But she still hasn’t put together a full list. She has been five out of six or five-and-a-half dives out of six. She kind of misses something a little bit.”
For the diving team, sophomore Caitlin Locante said Bertram has been a rock. Even from Bertram, Locante has learned different attributes to use for herself when she dives.
“I have learned to take more risks and be more confident in myself,” Locante said. “I have noticed that when she practices, if she’s afraid of something or she has to try a different dive, she does it anyway. She overcomes that fear very well.”
This weekend at the Miami (Ohio) Invitational, there are eight other diving teams including teams from France and China. Even against foreign and other collegiate teams, Bertram wants to be more consistent on the boards.
“I have been doing a lot better this year with my consistency,” Bertram said. “Hopefully just keeping that going and having fun with the whole team.”
The 25th annual Miami (Ohio) Invitational begins at 10 a.m. on Nov. 29 at Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center in Oxford, Ohio.