COLUMBUS, Ohio – Northern Arizona's Chelsea Jackson and Alexa Geiger performed well on the big stage on the first day of the USA Diving Winter National Championships. The Lumberjack divers competed in the 1-meter springboard preliminary on Thursday placing 14th and 15th respectively and missed the finals in their first of two competitions.
"They're both showing that they really belong here and they're starting to believe in what they can do and how much more competitive they can become," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "They're early in the USA Diving Senior National circuit and they did a great job today. Having each other here helps as well because they can support each other."
Geiger placed 15th overall in the prelims with a score of 209.25. The current senior started out on fire with her first three dives receiving scores of at least 42 points. She remained in contention hovering around the final spot in the final before ultimately ceding ground in the final two rounds. Her best single dive was her second with 50.70 points.
"Lex did three fabulous dives and she had another one that was good enough, but then she put a little too much pressure on herself in her last dive and that's the dive she missed," Huffman said. "She hung around eighth, ninth and 10th throughout most of the competition and she competed really well. She just needed one better dive."
Meanwhile, Jackson finished one spot ahead of Geiger in 14th. The 2016 alum recorded scores of at least 42 points in three of the five rounds and finished with a score of 218.80 – less than 20 points out of the eight-diver final. Her first dive notched a score of 46.80 and she closed her order with a dive score of 57.60 in the fifth round. Her final dive received the third-highest score of any diver in the field and was the highest in the last round.
"Chelsea probably looked a little too good during warm-up," Huffman said. "Her warm-up looked like she could've won the whole thing. She's working on getting over her nerves. She did one very good dive, but there were some dives that she did a lot better in the warm-up."
The two divers will take their shots once more on Friday as they will pair together for the 3-meter synchronized diving competition. Jackson and Geiger will begin the preliminaries at 7 a.m. with the finals to start at approximately 11:20 a.m. Both times are local to Flagstaff. Live results are available at divemeets.com and live video can be streamed here.