Doria M. Holbrook ’08 became MIT’s first national champion of the 2006-07 season on Saturday evening, bringing the three-meter diving title back to Cambridge after winning the event with a cumulative finals score of 480.90.
Her efforts helped the Engineers vault into a 20th-place finish out of 52 scoring schools, equaling the team’s highest national finish in 17 years.
Kenyon College won the event for the 21st time in convincing fashion — a return to form after Emory University took the crown the past two years. The Ladies secured the top spot with 538 points, well ahead of runner-up Amherst College, which finished with 320 points. Defending champion Emory rounded out the top three with a point-tally of 295, while Tech earned 46.
Holbrook entered the three-meter finals as the second seed, after her 475.20 in prelims was overshadowed by practice partner Kendall Swett’s new NCAA record 493.20. Swett, a junior at Tufts, had set the previous mark of 489.00 just last season as a member of Lake Forest College.
MIT’s diving sensation was at her best in the finals, however, as she nailed all of her dives en route to the first-place finish, edging out Calvin College sophomore Erica Deur, who totaled 476.10 points. Deur, who won the one-meter competition on Friday, was voted Diver of the Championships. Swett finished fourth with 456.05 points in the finals.
It was Holbrook’s second national championship in three-meter diving, as she also won the event in 2004-05, her freshman year. Having competed in the three-meter and one-meter competitions at the National Championships each year that she has been at MIT, she has earned All-America honors every time.
Katherine C. Thornton ’07 also competed and earned points for the Engineers, rounding out her career in style with a 17:33.76 finish in the 1650-yard freestyle, good for 14th-place. She also earned six points with an 11th-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle on Friday, marking the first time in her career that she earned points in two different events at the same NCAA Championships.
Head coach Dawn B. Gerken couldn’t have been happier with the performances of her competitors, as they came through on the final day of the competition to earn a top-20 finish — one of the team’s main goals entering the Championships.
“A top-20 finish was something that we were really aiming for,” she said. “To earn that for this team makes the rest of the coaching staff and I just so proud of these two girls.”
Gerken also couldn’t hide her delight with the way Thornton concluded her MIT swimming career.
“It was a great way for her to go out,” she noted. “She has done so much for this program over the course of her four years here, and we just couldn’t be more happy and proud of her accomplishments. The fact that it was the first time that she’s scored twice at the competition makes it a sweet way to end it.”