MINNEAPOLIS -- Competing in his first-ever NCAA Championships, BYU diver Aaron Russell started the three-day meet out with a bang, taking 14th on the 1M board to earn Second-Team All-America honors.
Russell, a freshman, returned to competition this year after a two-year break from training while serving a mission for the LDS Church. Russell has not missed a beat since his return, winning the 3M event at the NCAA Zone E Qualifying Meet two weeks ago and placing fifth on the 1M to qualify in both events at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend in Minneapolis, Minn. In the first day of competition, Russell racked up a score of 481.15 to earn 14th place overall and help the Cougars into 24th place.
"Aaron did a great job," said BYU diving coach Keith Russell. "For a freshman, and especially after coming off a two-year mission, he was very consistent with his dives and did very well. He represented BYU well by finishing 14th and earning honorable mention All-America status. We're excited to see what he can do tomorrow (in the 3M event) and to see what he accomplishes in the future, as he is just a freshman."
Texas sophomore Troy Dumais, who with his older brother Justin has dominated diving on a national level, easily won the event with a 605.20 to help his team into a first-place finish after the first day. BYU diver Devan Porter, hampered by back pain, finished 30th.
Friday should be another exciting day for the Cougars, as both Russell and Porter are set to compete in the 3M diving event. BYU swimmer Arunas Savickas will also compete in the 200 free. Savickas is currently ranked fifth in the nation headed into the event.