NCAA Women’s Championships: Delaney Schnell Pens Storybook Ending with Platform Gold

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

NCAA Women’s Championships: Delaney Schnell Pens Storybook Ending with Platform Gold

Delaney Schnell had been pushing all week for a gold medal, which seems fitting, since she’s been striving since the fall of 2017 for an NCAA title.

Down in in Knoxville, the Arizona senior and American Olympic silver medalist was second on 1-meter and fourth on 3-meter. Saturday, after six seasons of toil, she added an NCAA gold medal to her long list of accomplishments.

Schnell scored 352.65 points in taking home a much sought after gold medal in her final collegiate event. She was five points clear of LSU’s Montserrat Gutierrez Lavenant. The Mexican international scored 347.00 points.

Schnell has been heartbreakingly close to this honor so many times before. Saturday was her 10th NCAA diving medal. She was second in platform each of the last two years. Back in 2019, as a sophomore, she was the leader through prelims of both 3-meter and platform, before slipping to sixth and fourth, respectively. She was sixth as a true freshman five springs ago on 3-meter and went from second in prelims in 2021 to fourth on 1-meter, to go with those two silvers, last year’s to Indiana’s Tarrin Gilliand.

Add in an Olympic redshirt year in 2019-20 and the COVID-19 pandemic costing everyone the 2021 NCAAs, and the upwelling of emotion as the 24-year-old stood on the podium is understandable.


Delaney Schnell; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“We’ve been working to win a national title since my freshman year, and it’s really been a bumpy road,” Schnell said. “I’ve gotten so close numerous times and just couldn’t quite put it together when I needed it to come together. We’ve been working super hard in the pool at home figuring out what we need to do, what we need to do mentally to get myself prepared for that moment. And today I just wanted to go out there and enjoy it and let it be what it will be and appreciate the outcome regardless.”

Schnell is Arizona’s first NCAA gold medalist since 2015 (Kevin Cordes). The Wildcats also last won a diving title that year thanks to Samantha Pickens on 1-meter.

Unlike in past brushes with gold, Schnell said she felt “rattled” by prelims and needed a midday reset despite qualifying first.

In the evening, though, she felt instantly comfortable. She took the early advantage with an 80-point back two-and-a-half, then scored 85.5 in the fourth round, a forward three-and-a-half pike.

“Some days you’re going to be lighting it up, you’re going to be on fire, and some days, you’re not,” she said. “Just today, something felt right. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it regardless of the outcome, and that’s what made it feel special.”

Minnesota got a medal in third via Viviana Del Angel with a score of 344.55, separating from the pack. Indiana sought to continue its dominance in this event with Skyler Liu taking fourth in 328.05. USC’s Nike Agunbiade was the only other diver to crack 300 points in 323.85, 30 points ahead of Texas’s Jordan Skilken in sixth.

UNC’s Aranxa Vazquez Montano, the winner of both springboard events, finished 10th to burnish her qualifications for Diver of the Meet.

But it was all about Schnell, who continues to train for the Paris Olympics in 2024. (She won a silver medal with Jessica Paratto in 10-meter synchro in Tokyo, the first American medal in that event, and finished fifth in the individual event.) The ending to her college career, after a journey that was anything but, proved storybook.

“It is an incredible feeling to finally get this monkey off my back for sure,” she said.

 Event 20  Women Platform Diving
         Meet: M 396.75  3/23/2013 Haley Ishimatsu, USC
         Pool: P 377.60  12/18/2012Jessica Paratto, Unattached
    Name                 Year School            Prelims     Finals Points 
                       === Championship Final ===                        
  1 Schnell, Delaney       SR Arizona            323.95     352.65   20  
  2 Lavenant, Montserrat   JR LSU                315.50     347.00   17  
  3 Del Angel, Viviana     FR Minnesota          317.50     344.55   16  
  4 Liu, Skyler            SO Indiana            320.00     328.05   15  
  5 Agunbiade, Nike        SR USC                277.80     323.85   14  
  6 Skilken, Jordan        SR Texas              285.05     293.75   13  
  7 Vieta, Maycey          SR Purdue             287.20     293.60   12  
  8 Praasterink, Else      JR Louisville         291.45     270.70   11  
                        === Consolation Final ===                        
  9 Merriman, Maggie       SR Purdue             276.05     292.10    9  
 10 Vazquez Montano, Aran  JR UNC                273.45     285.15    7  
 11 Carruthers, Sarah      FR Texas              254.85     281.75    6  
 12 Mirafuentes, Melissa   JR Nevada             261.30     274.40    5  
 13 McAfee, Sophia         SO Purdue             261.25     258.25    4  
 14 Gouda, Maha            SR FIU                258.60     257.05    3  
 15 Cheng, Eden            FR UCLA               268.50     253.20    2  
 16 Patrick, Jaye          SR Northwestern       270.50     231.45    1
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