WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, July 2. DAVID Colturi, Kara Cook and Ashley Karnes are switching their old gold and black suits for the red, white and blue of Team USA beginning this weekend at the FISU World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia.
"I think it's a great opportunity for the divers to gain some experience at an international level," head diving coach Adam Soldati said. "That's only going to help them at the collegiate level next year. It's an honor and a privilege for Purdue University to have three divers, three individuals from one discipline, going. We're extremely proud of the hard work they've put in and making the sacrifice to go to the qualifying meet the week before finals. There is quite a commitment that these divers have made all year long to achieve this. My hope is that they have an outstanding time, they enjoy the atmosphere and remember they are representing Purdue University."
Colturi earned his spot after claiming the first two US titles of his career at the Speedo USA Diving Spring National Championships in April. The junior from Sylvania, Ohio, scored 424.05 points from the platform to win the event and then teamed with Ohio State junior Sean Moore to take the synchronized platform crown. Colturi, a two-time All-American in the platform, also finished third in the 1-meter to qualify in that event as well.
"I haven't heard anything bad about the World University Games," Colturi said. "All the previous athletes that I've talked to have said it was just amazing. I'm really looking to soak it up. I don't have any expectations. I just want to dive consistently, and I'm really looking forward to going overseas and just soaking in the whole experience."
Cook placed her name on the roster with a runner-up finish in synchronized platform. The junior from The Woodlands, Texas, joined forces with Southern Methodist University junior Audra Egenolf to score 257.37 points from the 10-meter and punch her ticket to the games. Cook, who won the Big Ten title off the platform as a freshman, also is competing in the individual portion of the event.
"I am very excited," Cook said. "It's always nice to travel for a meet, especially to Serbia, which is somewhere I've never been and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm just really excited for the whole games, because it's not just diving. It's all sports. I'm looking forward to attending the other venues and watching basketball games and volleyball. That's what I'm most excited to experience."
Karnes took fifth place in the 1-meter at the USA Diving Championships. She entered the final with the top seed after scoring 275.30 points in the qualifying round and put together a list of 266.90 during her final six dives. The senior from Bloomington, Ind., was named co-Big Ten Diver of the Championships earlier this year when she won the 1-meter and placed second in the 3-meter.
"I'm really excited to be going to the World University Games," Karnes said. "I've never been to an international meet before, and it should be a lot of fun."
Karnes is the first Boilermaker to compete as the 1-meter competition starts Saturday. Cook takes on her platform competitors Monday, and the synchronized platform event is scheduled for Tuesday. Colturi opens his meet Tuesday with the 1-meter before contesting the platform Thursday and wrapping up the competition with the synchronized platform the next day.
The synchronized events have only final rounds, but the individual events have preliminaries that begin at 4 a.m. ET and feature semifinal and final rounds. The women's 1-meter and men's platform finals begin at 10:30 a.m., while the women's platform and synchronized platform finals start at 10 a.m. The men's 1-meter final is slated for an 11:30 a.m. start, and the men's synchronized platform final starts at 8:30 a.m. Belgrade is six hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.
Purdue's three divers represent the most from any school on the 11-person roster, which also features two each from Auburn and Indiana and one each from Duke, Ohio State, SMU and Stanford. Live results can be found throughout the competition at purduesports.com.
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