Ellie Crump, a diver from Dunwoody, Georgia, prepares to execute a jump during a dual meet against the University of Texas Austin at the Gabrielsen Natatorium on Jan. 12, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. Diving is a sport of precision, athletes are judged on how well the perform a predetermined dive. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

It’s a new year but also a familiar setting for the Georgia divers as they returned to the University of Tennessee to compete in another three-day invitational meet. 

On Nov. 24, the swimming and diving team closed out the first half of the season at the Tennessee Invitational, with the men and women notching first and second place finishes.

To renew the campaign, the divers revisited the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jan. 3-5 for a diving-only contest that resulted in one individual victory and several top-10 finishes. 

In the first day of competition, junior Zach Allen took second place for Georgia in the 3-meter springboard (368.25 points), falling along with the rest of the field to Auburn sophomore Connor Pruitt’s runaway score of 420.30.

Senior Freida Lim and sophomore Ellie Crump advanced to the women’s 1-meter final out of a group of 51 divers to take seventh and 12th-place. Crump’s preliminary score of 255.85 was her best of the season, but she wasn’t able to carry the momentum into her last six dives.

Despite coming off several strong finishes at November’s invitational, senior McKensi Austin placed 32nd in the 1-meter on Friday and didn’t compete in the final.

On Saturday, Allen advanced his streak of top-four finishes to eleven-straight events by placing third in the men’s 1-meter. He was joined in the event by sophomore teammate Hudson Coldren who placed 29th. Peter Smithson of SMU took the top spot by a seven-point margin.

The Georgia women fared slightly better on day-two as Austin manifested more of her 2019 form with a fourth-place finish in the 3-meter. Lim placed tenth, although her prelim score was the eighth highest of both heats.

Minnesota sophomore Joy Zhu’s comfortable victory in the 3-meter earned her the sweep of both women’s springboard events.

Sunday saw the only victory for the Georgia divers over the weekend. Lim, who finished first in the November invitational’s platform diving event, improved her score by 15 points to secure a consecutive win from the 10-meter mark.

Allen finished the meet less successfully, coming away with 15th place in the men’s platform dive.

Both the Bulldog men and women enter 2020 ranked in the NCAA top 10 for total points earned, according to CollegeSwimming.

Their first home meet of the season is set for Jan. 11 against Texas A&M and will be the first of three full-team dual meets leading up to the SEC championships in late February.

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