INDIANAPOLIS, Ind, June 30. AFTER battling a wrist injury for more than a year, 2000 Olympian Mark Ruiz (Orlando, Fla.) reasserted his dominance in the sport by claiming his second title of the Speedo National Diving Championships.
Ruiz won the men's 10-meter platform (his 20th national title overall) with 611.61 points. Earlier in the week he was crowned the 1-meter springboard champion.
Although he has only been training intensively for one month, Ruiz secured a roster spot on the Pan American Games Team (Aug. 1-17, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) on the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform. He is also making his 10th consecutive National Team appearance and will represent the U.S. on platform at the 10th FINA World Championships (July 13-20, Barcelona, Spain).
Justin Dumais (Ventura, Calif.) will join Ruiz on the National Team and Pan Am squad by virtue of his second place finish.
Other men making the 2003 National Team are Caesar Garcia (Baton Rouge, La.), Kyle Prandi (Strongsville, Ohio), Thomas Finchum (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Jason Coben (Newton Square, Penn.).
On women's 3-meter springboard, 2000 Olympian Sara Hildebrand (St. Paul, Minn.) won her third event of the Speedo National Diving Championships with 508.65 points. Earlier in the week, Hildebrand captured the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform with Indiana Diving teammate Cassandra Cardinell.
With the victory, Hildebrand earned a berth on the 2003 National Team and Pan American Games Team. She will also represent the U.S. on the board at the 10th FINA World Championships.
2000 Olympian Michelle Davison (Columbia, SC) joins Hildebrand on the National Team and Pan Am Team. Davison totaled 502.05 points on springboard.
Other divers making the National Team are Lane Bassham (Quitman, Ga.), Allison Brennan (Huntington Beach,.Calif.), Jaime Sanger (Plymouth, Minn.) and Rachelle Kunkel (West Valley City, Utah).
Auburn Diving's Garcia and Matt Bricker (Winter Park, Fla.) earned the first national title of their career with a win on synchronized 10-meter platform. The duo scored 333.36 points on the afternoon to claim a spot on the 2003 National Team.
For Complete Results: www.usadiving.org