The 2013-14 season will mark the second year for the Clemson Women's Diving program. In their inaugural season, five Tigers qualified for the NCAA Zone B Championships. This season, Clemson returns 10 of 12 divers from last year and looks to take the next step in building the program.
"We definitely have more of a purpose this year," said Head Coach Leslie Hasselbach Adams. "Last season, half of the team was brand new and we got a chance to kind of get our feet wet. We got a chance to see how the season would play out.
"It is exciting to come back this year and have a lot more experience. We have only one freshman and we have three seniors. We have really worked on our team culture and what our purpose is and what our team goals are. The girls are focused and dialed in on what they are trying to do."
This season will mark the 14th season that Hasselbach Adams has coached diving at Clemson. She became the first women's diving coach in Clemson history after being chosen to lead the program in its inaugural season. She will be once again assisted by Ryan Moehnke, who will begin his 13th season overall as a diving coach.
In the pool, seniors Heather Britt, Emily Howard, and Bailey Warren will lead the squad in 2013-14. Howard, who competed in all three events at NCAA Zones in 2012-13, returns as one of the top Tigers from a year ago. She led Clemson with 61.5 competition points last season and recorded the highest score of the season with a 306.83 against NC State.
"Emily Howard is our team captain," Adams said. "She has done a tremendous job. She stayed in Clemson the whole summer and trained and competed and has done a wonderful job as a leader."
Juniors Jessica Doolittle, Chelsea Uranaka and Emily Yoder will provide depth and experience for the Tigers. Uranaka finished fourth on the team in points last season and competed in the one-meter event at NCAA Zones last season. Yoder was one of the top platform divers on the team last season.
Sophomores Tabitha Banks, Megan Helwagen, Juliana Melchionda and Jessica Resler each look to make an impact this season. Last season, Helwagen had a standout season as a freshman finishing second on the team in points with 52. She also recorded the highest one-meter score of the season (286.50) and had the highest scores of any Tiger in the one-meter and platform events at the NCAA Zones.
Resler had a successful season as she led the Tigers in points in the platform event and finish fifth in points overall. She finished with the highest Clemson score in the platform event at the ACC Championships and had three of the top five platform scores on the team last season. Melchionda also made great strides during her freshman campaign and qualified for NCAA Zones in the one-meter and three-meter events.
"Our remaining ladies that will return that competed at NCAA Zones last season have also been working hard at the pool," Adams said. "Chelsea Uranaka is going to have a knock season. Juliana Melchionda is training hard and doing her thing. Megan Helwagen didn't get to train the whole summer due to an injury but she is coming back with a vengeance. They are all doing good things at the pool and we are excited about that."
The 2013-14 version of the women's diving team will feature just one freshman. Sarah Braun, a native of Beaverton, Oregon, will be the Tigers' lone newcomer to start the season. Braun was the captain of her high school diving team at Southridge High School and was twice named most outstanding female diver. She is currently the only Clemson student-athlete from the state of Oregon.
Clemson will compete in a challenging and competitive schedule in 2013-14. The slate features 11 regular-season meets, including five home meets and three invitational meets.
The Tigers will open the season October 26 against Richmond and Georgia Southern. It will be the first return trip for former Tiger David Giambra, who was a diver at Clemson from 2006-09 under Adams.
"I am very excited to have David come back home," Adams said. "I am super proud of him for getting in to the coaching profession. He has done a tremendous job at Georgia Southern and I know he is excited to bring his team here to compete."
The Tigers will wrap up the regular season on February 8 when they host James Madison at home. Clemson will then travel to Greensboro, NC for the ACC Championships on February 19-22.
The divers will look to qualify for the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships in Greensboro, NC on March 10-12. From there, the Tigers will try to earn a spot in the NCAA Women's Diving Championships in Minneapolis, MN on March 20-22.