ERHS grad Laura Ryan earns second NCAA diving gold medal

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River’s Laura Ryan has captured her second gold medal in diving at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, and will go for the hat trick Saturday when the three-day meet concludes.

Ryan, a University of Georgia senior, won the three-meter crown on Friday at the University of Minnesota, on the heels of winning the one-meter title on Thursday.

Laura Ryan, shown here during Thursday's NCAA one-meter competition, won that event and three-meter on Friday. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Laura Ryan, shown here during Thursday’s NCAA one-meter competition, won that event and three-meter on Friday. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Laura Ryan
Laura Ryan

Ryan rolled up 423.15 points to win by more than 23 points over Texas’ Maren Taylor. Coming into the meet, Georgia had never posted an individual national champion in diving, but the Elk River native who grew up training in the University Aquatic Center changed all of that with her two springboard crowns.

“The one-meter was a surprise, but this was the one I’d been working toward all season,” Ryan said, on the University of Georgia athletics web site. “I knew I could do it if I stayed focused and did what I’ve been training for this year. Being back in this pool has given me an overwhelming sense of calm.”

The final event will be platform diving, with preliminaries at 1:30 p.m. and finals at 7 p.m. Saturday.

This is the first time Ryan has competed at the U of M since she won the state title for Elk River her sophomore year. She was injured her junior year, and skipped her senior year to start competing nationally. In two years with Indiana and two with Georgia, she had never competed in Minnesota, but is closing her college career there in style.

Ryan had fifth- and 12th-place finishes with Georgia last year at nationals in Indianapolis, helping the Bulldogs win the team title. They are well on their way to repeating with a 369 to 297 lead on second-place Stanford.