by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River’s Laura Ryan emerged as NCAA champion in one-meter diving on Thursday, in the Georgia senior’s first-ever collegiate appearance in her home state.
Ryan became Georgia’s first-ever NCAA champion in diving as she scored 338.60 points, with family and friends looking on a the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The former state champion for the Elks grew up training in the University Aquatic Center.
”I am honestly still in shock,” Ryan said. “Coming into that event, I had no expectations, so to come out on top like that in my old home pool, I can’t even describe how that feels. That was the greatest cheering section I have ever had.
“Not only from all of the swimmers, but all of my family was here. They all live in Minnesota, so to be able to win it in front of them in my senior year just feels so special.”
Placing second was Maren Taylor of Texas with 333.75. Maggie Keefer of the Gophers, whom Ryan edged for the state title in high school, was fourth.
Ryan still has two competitions remaining, the three-meter on Friday and platform on Saturday, with prelims at 1:30 and finals at 7 p.m. each day.
Last year, Ryan helped Georgia win the team title by placing fifth in platform and 12th in three-meter.
Georgia had three champions on the first day of three-day meet. Also winning were Brittany MacLean in the 500 freestyle and Olivia Smoliga in the 50 freestyle.