Cooper Earns Third NCAA All-America Honor
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior team captain Zach Cooper ended Miami’s run at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships in style Saturday night, taking third overall in the men’s platform to earn All-America honors.
Cooper, who entered the event as a two-time All-America performer on the tower, finished the night’s finals with a score of 442.65.
“He was so locked in this whole trip and this whole year,” head diving coach Randy Ableman said. “That’s how he has been diving all year. It’s very easy on me, because I knew he was going to perform well, and he came through.”
Cooper, who captured a gold medal at the ACC Swimming & Diving Championships and was the top performer in the event at Zone B qualifiers, capped his impressive run through the postseason with another addition to his trophy cabinet.
“It’s so nice to see. He’s so hard on himself, and just so intense,” Ableman said. “When it was over, he was really satisfied with his performance, and that meant a lot to me.”
Though Ableman hoped for all four men’s divers to be competing in the event, Cooper was one of jus two to participate Friday; second-year diver Max Flory finished in 19th in the afternoon preliminaries (321.95).
Brodie Scapens, who earned All-America honors in both springboard events on the first two days of the NCAA Championships, did not compete due to a lingering shoulder injury. Freshman Jack Matthews has battled through a wrist injury in the postseason.
“Brodie has come so far on springboard,” Ableman said “He has really got himself in a position where he might be a better springboard diver than tower diver. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t go today. He really wanted to. He wanted to be the guy who was in the finals of all three events.”
Cooper became the fourth Miami diver to earn All-America recognition this postseason, joining Scapens, Mia Vallée and Emma Gullstrand. In addition to that quartet, Jack Matthews was an Honorable Mention All-America in both springboard events.
“They’re on the right track. They’re a hard-working group. We train twice a day and coming down the stretch here, we kept getting stronger every competition,” Ableman said. “We were good at conference meet, better at Zones and even better at NCAAs, for the kids who performed. That’s the way it should be. It makes me feel good that we’re on the right track with their preparation and that they’re bought in.
“It was a really messed up year in a lot of ways, but they handled the adversity really well. I’m really proud of our results.”