Sanger rallies for 1-meter title

Lady Vol senior Jaime Sanger claimed her third consecutive conference title on the one-meter springboard Thursday in helping Tennessee to fifth place after Day 2 of the SEC Championships.

Sanger trailed junior Ashley Rubenstein of Auburn heading into the final round of dives but performed a near-perfect inward one and one half pike to help her record a school-record score of 323.25, edging Rubenstein by less than three points.

''I wanted this win so badly,'' Sanger said. ''I struggled on a few dives, but came around and showed my stuff on the final dive. It was great to have all my teammates behind me; they helped so much and Ashley Rubenstein pushed me the whole way as well.''

Sanger earned her title in dramatic fashiong, having just the fifth-highest score of the prelims with a total of 271.35. In fact, the Plymouth, Minn., native stood in ninth place heading into the final round of the prelims before she hit a solid dive to pave her way to the finals and her third SEC title in a row.

''I wasn't sure quite what to expect going into the finals because Jaime has been solid all year, but by her standards, she has been just a bit off,'' UT Diving Coach Dave Parrington said. ''During the finals, I said 'just let it fly and let's see what happens,' and Jaime dove with a lot of heart and pride tonight.''

UT sophomore Lauryn McCalley (Moultrie, Ga.) placed seventh in the event with a score of 271.50. McCalley had totaled the sixth-highest score in the prelims with a 269.55.

After dropping nearly a second off her previous career best in the morning prelims, senior Courtney Naparlo (Williamsburg, Va.) clocked an even faster time in the finals en route to placing 13th in the 50y free. Naparlo's NCAA provisional qualifying time of 23.42 in the finals improved upon her 23.49 from the prelims, and by far surpassed her best going into the day of 24.29. She now ranks eighth in UT history for the event.

Freshman Graciela Breece-Rodriguez brought home 12th place in the 200y IM with a career-best time and NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 2:03.67. The performance ranks Breece-Rodriguez 11th in school history for the event.

Freshman Kara Boland (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) cruised to a 16th-place finish in the 500y free with a time of 4:58.00. Boland had earlier clocked the 16th-fastest time of the morning prelims with a 4:57.52, falling just short of her season best of 4:56.02.

Tennessee marked another strong relay performance in the 200y free relay, by posting a season-best NCAA provisional qualifying 1:33.13 en route to grabbing sixth place. With the performance, the Lady Vol quartet of freshman Abbi Terveer, senior Bethany Hall, junior Taryn Ternent and Naparlo now rank eighth in UT history for the event.

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